LA PORTE – A Harris County judge issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday against a Houston-area clinic.
The order shuts down the Clinica Hispana in La Porte until further notice after the Texas Attorney General presented evidence that the man running the clinic is not a doctor and the clinic’s COVID-19 tests are not as advertised.
The large sign outside the clinic next to Spencer Highway in La Porte was nearly impossible to miss: “COVID-19 TEST RESULTS IN 15 MINUTES!!!!!”
Nancy Serrano said for weeks, hundreds of people lined up for hours to take advantage of the offer, including her brother-in-law.
“That same afternoon we asked him how he was doing and he said ‘Thank God everything’s fine. I tested negative,‘” Serrano said. “And, he let his guard down.”
But her brother-in-law’s condition got much worse, and his wife and three children and others got sick and tested positive for COVID-19.
“He went to the hospital, and he tested positive for COVID-19,” Serrano said. “He is in intensive care now. He has been there for a week.”
The Texas Attorney General wrote in a lawsuit that the 15-minute test was not a diagnostic COVID-19 test, but an antibody test. Even more, Clinica Hispana was not authorized to use the test anyway.
Antibody tests help determine if a person had COVID-19 in the past, but they do not determine if a person currently has COVID-19.
The suit also presented evidence that Luis Alberto Cuan, who ran the clinic, was not actually a doctor.
In 2018, when Cuan ran the Clinica Hispana in Wallisville, the Texas Medical Board ordered him to “cease and desist any practice of medicine in the State of Texas [as well as] from identifying … as a doctor.”
“Clinica Hispana [in La Porte] does not appear to employ any licensed medical providers,” the suit also said, “…taking advantage of Texas consumers, placing individual and the general public health at risk for economic gain.”
There is a “high risk” that there are many more Texans like Serrano’s brother-in-law who had or have COVID-19 and tested negative at Clinica Hispana, the suit said.
“The [clinic] does get a lot of Hispanic attention,” Serrano said. “They trust them. So how many people went and got tested and thought they were negative and came back and … infected more people?”
In addition, Cuan is accused in the lawsuit of improperly disposing of sensitive patient information found intact in a dumpster behind the clinic.