Medical professionals are not the only ones who can be sued for medical malpractice. It is also possible to sue the hospital or health care facility where medical treatment was received. This is possible if the patient has been injured due to:
- Hospital negligence, or
- Negligence by an employee of the hospital, staff member or someone else who the hospital is responsible for.
When a hospital is sued, a medical malpractice case can become even more complicated. Insurance carriers will fight very hard because a significant amount of money is at stake. This makes it very important that a patient understands when a hospital can be sued.
“Negligence” is when someone does something improperly, or fails to something he or she was supposed to do, and as a result a patient is injured. If a hospital does not do what it’s supposed to do or that it is not done properly, then the hospital may be liable for any injuries the patient suffered due to its action or inaction. Hospitals can be liable for many things, including:
- Failing to ensure that hospital staff has the necessary education, training, and licenses.
- Not ensuring that non-employees who work in the hospital, such as independent contractors (including independent contractors), have the necessary credentials.
- Not having enough staff (nurses and technicians) to ensure that the patients are properly cared for.
- Failure to deep proper patient records, or losing them.
Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is liable for the negligence of its employees while doing his job. This is known as “vicarious liability.” Hospitals can have dozens, even hundreds of employees. Should any one of them act negligently, resulting in harm to the patient, the hospital may be held responsible. The hospital can be liable for the negligence of an employee, including:
- The patient is given the wrong medication or an improper dosage of the correct medication by a nurse or technician.
- The physician’s treatment plan or instructions are not properly followed by the nurse.
- A member of the surgical team has left an object in the patient’s body after a surgery.
- Failure of hospital staff to properly dress and treat wounds, resulting in infection.
- A patient is given anesthesia or drugs that staff knew, or should have known had a proper investigation be performed by staff, would cause the patient problems.
Medical malpractice victims are entitled to receive money damages or “compensation” for things like medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Practically speaking, a medical professional may not have enough money to cover all of the patient’s damages. The insurance carrier of the hospital usually does. If a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital is successful, an injured patient may be able to get the damages they deserve. Vicarious liability also helps to ensure that the hospital will take steps to prevent a repeat of the mistake.
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