Late former Texas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s family intends to sue Baylor Scott & White for alleged “medical negligence” that led to her death.
The family announced their intention to file a lawsuit against the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation and Baylor Scott & White Health System in a news release sent to DX by the law firm Miller Weisbrod Olesky.
In September, Johnson visited his mother at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation in Dallas only to find her “lying in her own feces and urine,” according to the statement.
“She had been pushing the call button for a prolonged amount of time begging for help. No one had responded. He went to the nursing station on the floor where there was no one at the desk,” he alleged.
Attorney Les Weisbrod said being left in such unsanitary conditions led to an infection in a surgical wound on her spine, which ultimately led to her death.
“The laboratory reports leave no doubt that the infection that killed Former Congresswoman Johnson was caused by the failure of the staff at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation to properly care for Mrs. Johnson and allowing her to have laid in her own feces,” Weisbrod asserted in a release.
Johnson and Weisbrod filed a pre-suit notice on Thursday, which gives the defendant 60 days to resolve the claim before a lawsuit can be filed. Weisbrod said he hopes the matter is settled within that time frame.
During the press conference, Johnson described his mother’s condition as “deplorable.”
“She was being unattended to. She was screaming out in pain and for help,” he said. “If she got proper care at that facility, she would be here today.”
Weisbrod said a proper resolution to the lawsuit would involve paying damages to the family, which they would then use to create a foundation in Eddie Bernice Johnson’s name. Damages for medical negligence are capped at $250,000 under Texas law, which Weisbrod said “needs to change.”
“Kirk and the family — they don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” he said. “By putting this story out, if this prevents this from happening to one other person, then that would be what [Eddie Bernice Johnson] would’ve wanted, and that’s what the family wants.”
Baylor Scott & White Health released a statement following the news but declined to share any details regarding its legal response.
“Congresswoman Johnson was a longtime friend and champion in the communities we serve — she is an inspiration to all,” the health system said, per FOX 4. “We are committed to working directly with the Congresswoman’s family members and their counsel. Out of respect for patient privacy, we must limit our comments.”