AUSTIN — When Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano was accused of protecting a neurosurgeon whose patients died or were maimed, it got some outside help from Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Abbott has intervened in three federal cases on the hospital’s side. He says he’s defending state law as a matter of principle. But he’s also siding with one of his biggest campaign contributors.
In March, Abbott — the Republican nominee for governor — filed motions to intervene in federal court against former patients who sued the doctor claiming botched spinal surgeries. The patients contend that the 2003 Texas law sharply limiting medical malpractice suits is unconstitutional.
Aides say Abbott is trying to defend an important state reform, not shield Baylor from liability. But his action would make it more difficult for the patients to win their cases.
Baylor Regional is part of the Baylor Scott & White Health hospital system. The chairman of the system’s board of trustees is Drayton McLane, a Temple transportation executive and Republican political contributor. McLane has donated to Abbott before, but never in the large sums of the last year amid the hospital’s mounting legal problems.