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A Death in McAllen: What the death of Noe Martinez Sr. reveals about the nursing home crisis to come

Corporate owners such as the ones that run McAllen Nursing Center have little to fear financially if a vocational nurse or a poorly trained nurse’s aide negligently kills a patient. When Martinez family members tried to file a lawsuit following Noe Sr.’s death, they ran hard into one of Texas’ most controversial recent laws. In 2003, the state enacted sweeping legislation designed to transform the civil justice system. Among many other provisions, the statute capped damages for pain and suffering in all medical malpractice lawsuits, including those against nursing homes, at $250,000, removing a deterrent to bad behavior in the process.

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September 23, 2005

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