Preserve Physician Liability Protections in Emergencies

TMA Testimony by Moss Hampton, MD

House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee
House Bill 2362 by Rep. Joe Moody 

April 1, 2019

Good morning, Chairman Leach, Vice Chair Farrar, and committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to testify against House Bill 2362. I am Dr. Moss Hampton, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist with more than three decades of experience. I have practiced in the Panhandle and West Texas, and I currently live in Spicewood, Texas. I am speaking today on behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – District XI and the Texas Medical Association. 

We are very concerned about how this bill will damage Texas’ ability to attract and sustain highly trained, competent doctors, including obstetricians and gynecologists, and specialty doctors such as maternal fetal medicine physicians and urogynecologists. This bill will hamper physicians’ ability to make ethical and professional decisions in the best interest of their patients for fear of repercussions. 

This bill could have grave consequences for obstetricians and gynecologists in Texas, and for women’s health more broadly. The heightened willful and wanton protections under this proposed law would not apply to any of the rescuing physicians or nurses that intervene in treating an emergency. A doctor or nurse should not be held liable for an emergency he or she did not cause. 

Such a change in the law would discourage high-risk specialists, such as neurologists and maternal fetal medicine specialists, from taking a call for fear that they would be denied the emergency department protections they currently have. Texas already has a shortage of physician specialists in areas where they are desperately needed and wanted, and this legislation would only exacerbate the problem. The impact would be especially apparent for women’s access to care in small and rural communities. 

HB 2362 creates a dangerous and hostile environment for physicians at a time when Texas is in desperate need of them. Signing this legislation will only increase our state’s already high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity and worsen fetal and infant mortality rates. This bill will ultimately prevent doctors from providing a patient with the best possible care – especially when necessary to protect the health of a woman and her child. 

We ask that you vote no on HB 2362.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify today.

Last Updated On

April 09, 2019

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