Scalpel, Please: Why the Definition of "Health Care Liability Claim" In Chapter 74 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code Is Not As Clean-Cut As It Could Be
Nowlin, Jonathan D.
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This Comment outlines the history of Article 4590i and Chapter 74. Part II will describe the medical malpractice insurance crisis that developed in the years leading up to 2003, and it will highlight the history of House Bill 4, which is the bill that created Chapter 74. Next, Part III will take a closer examination of Article 4590i's and Chapter 74's definitions of "health care liability claim." After examining the definitions, Part IV will introduce the "safety ambiguity," which refers to the ambiguous language within Chapter 74's definition that has caused the most confusion among Texas courts. Part V will explain why this ambiguity, if not clarified, will create problems that Chapter 74 was designed to prevent. Next, Part VI examines how the Texas Supreme Court dealt with the same ambiguous language in Article 4590i. Part VII will discuss how the legislature's intent behind Chapter 74's enactment does little to clarify the ambiguous language within Chapter 74's definition. Part VIII will offer three simple ways that the legislature can clarify its ambiguous language. Part IX will conclude that, regardless of how the legislature decides to clarify the ambiguous language, the point is that the legislature simply needs to act in order for Chapter 74 to continue as an effective statute.