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When is the Hospital Responsible for Medical Malpractice?

When many people in Kansas City think of medical malpractice, they likely think of a physician committing an error that causes serious harm to a patient. While this is often the case, the physician is not always solely responsible for the incident. Oftentimes, the hospital itself is liable.

Understanding whether the hospital is responsible — at least in part — for a medical error takes some investigation, so it is often wise to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Assuming the error was made by a physician, nurse or other hospital employee, a good place to start is with the hospital’s hiring practices.

It will be important to determine whether the hospital conducted a reasonably thorough check of the individual’s background, including his or her schooling, training and licensing. If it is determined that the hospital failed to properly review the individual’s background — and in doing so, missed an important red flag — the hospital may be held accountable for its error in judgement.

Communication errors that lead to patient injury may also be the responsibility of the hospital. Hospitals must maintain accurate records and conduct tests as needed. Failing to do so can cause serious harm to a patient and may be considered hospital negligence.

Finally, hospitals are responsible for ensuring their patients receive quality care in a timely manner. There are many factors that affect this responsibility, including the number of nurses and doctors on staff, admitting and discharging patients on time — including prioritizing patients with emergency health problems — and encouraging staff members to speak up when they believe an error has been committed.

Although there is much focus on the physician when it comes to medical errors, hospitals play a major role in ensuring the safety and well-being of their patients. If they fail to take that role seriously, it may result in hospital negligence.