When a patient goes into surgery, it is not just the surgeon that performs all of the tasks. Rather, the surgery is performed by a whole group of doctors, nurses, and other professionals who are delivering care to a patient during any surgery. While the surgeon is generally the main one in charge, that does not mean only him or her will be liable for medical malpractice.
For instance, most surgeries contain the following healthcare providers:
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA);
- Perfusionists for thoracic surgeries;
- Surgical assistants;
- Physician assistant;
- Medical Students on rotation;
- Other medical doctors such as a cardiologist or pulmonologist;
- Medical device company representative (to help size or work devices); and
- Many others.
That list is longer than you thought, huh?
Any individual on that list could cause medical malpractice. And any individual on that list could even kill a patient! So who would be liable? Who would you sue?
The answer is to sue all of them because your claim will expire in two and a half years due to the statute of limitations period. If you did not sue them before that time expires, you will have lost an opportunity to commence a medical malpractice claim against that provider. You would, therefore, have to commence an action against all of them up front. You would then be able to drop defendants later that had no part of your injury.
You would also sue the surgical group, office, or hospital. This is because they are vicariously liable for your procedure. They are the master in the master-servant relationship, which means that they will be at fault for your injuries caused by their employees.
In addition to proving negligent through the common law, you could also use res ipsa loquitur as a theory of your case. This allows you to hold a healthcare provider liable for your injuries when the provider was in the exclusive control of the instrumentality, you did not contribute to the injury (you were under anesthesia anyway), and the injury does not happen but for negligence or in the absence of negligence.
If a surgical team leaves a towel inside of you, a foreign object, all of those healthcare providers would be negligent and liable to you. They would have to fight it out against themselves who was ultimately liable; it would not be your issue.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.