Medical malpractice lawsuit in limbo; Obstetrician disappeared

Legal news for Texas medical malpractice attorneys. A medical malpractice lawsuit is threatened due to failing to serve the doctor in 120 days.

A medical malpractice lawsuit against Obstetrician Dr. Offenbach, who was a drug addict when he delivered a baby, is threatened.

Houston, TX—A Texas family may never get their day in court after filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against their obstetrician who was a drug addict when their son was born. The doctor has since disappeared and cannot be located, which has put the suit at risk of exceeding the 120-day limit to serve the paperwork, as reported by the Statesman.

Debbie Stockton’s son, William, was born in 1989, just days before Dr. Howard Offenbach admitted himself in a drug treatment center for his long-term addiction to Valium and hydrocodone. William was born with extensive nerve damage to his left arm, which his parents claim is due to Offenbach’s failure to order emergency surgery after William’s shoulder got stuck beneath his mother pubic bone during delivery. The injury has left William’s left arm weak, atrophied and with a small range of motion.

The Stockton’s filed the medical malpractice suit in 2007 for an unspecified amount, which allotted them 120 days to serve Offenbach with their medical expert’s findings and resume. But the obstetrician can’t be found. He lost his medical license in 2000 because of his drug abuse, moved from his Dallas home, and has since been evicted from two apartments and disappeared from public records. Its not just the Stockton’s who cant find him, even his lawyers cannot locate their client, claiming he is “not findable.”

Offenbach’s lawyers asked the trial court to dismiss the suit since the Stockton’s did not meet the 120-day deadline. A district judge denied the request stating, “The Stockton’s should not be penalized for failing an impossible task.” However, a Dallas appeals court sided with the obstetrician’s lawyers, ruling last year that the 120-day deadline stands with no exceptions or time extensions. The Stockton’s have since appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas medical malpractice lawyers.

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