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What Is Hospital Malpractice?

When you go to the hospital, you are within your rights to expect to receive care that is reasonable and sound.

When a medical professional or provider fails to provide suitable care, overlooks taking the proper action, or provides inadequate care that causes you to experience harm, injury, or death, medical malpractice has occurred.

Read on to learn more about when a hospital may be held liable for malpractice.

Hospital Malpractice

There are two main kinds of hospital liability:

  • When a hospital is accountable for a negligent employee.
    • Vicarious liability is a concept of personal injury law that states employers (including hospitals) may be held accountable for their employees’ negligence. Therefore, a hospital may be held responsible for medical malpractice that is conducted by a physician, nurse, or other medical professional employed by the hospital.
  • When a hospital is responsible for harm as a result of errors on behalf of the facility’s administration.
    • If the hospital administration fails to maintain a reasonably safe environment and you sustain harm as a result, the hospital may be held liable for malpractice. This can occur due to negligent hiring and supervising practices, as well as neglecting to adequately maintain and service equipment.

Holding a Hospital Accountable for Negligent Employees

Most medical providers who conduct business in hospitals are independent contractors rather than employees. Some of the staff may be full- or part-time hospital employees, but most of the providers are typically independent contractors.

The difference in employment status is important when it comes to filing a hospital malpractice lawsuit.

Hospitals are held responsible when their employees act negligently, which means if you are harmed by a medical professional who is employed by the hospital, you have the right to file a lawsuit against both the hospital and the individual employee.

Conversely, if you are harmed by a healthcare professional who is an independent contractor and not an employee of the hospital, your recovery is limited solely to that of the independent provider and you will likely be unable to pursue compensation against the hospital.

Physician Negligence

Most of the time, when a physician is held accountable for negligence, it is the result of one of the following:

  • Misdiagnosis,
  • Pregnancy and childbirth negligence,
  • Errors in prescribing or dispensing pharmaceutical drugs, or
  • Surgical mistakes.

Doctors are most commonly independent contractors who work in hospitals rather than employees of hospitals, which as you now know changes liability.

You may not typically hold a hospital accountable for negligence conducted by an independent contractor. Instead, you will only be able to hold the individual responsible for any harm done.

Nurse Negligence

Nurses are in charge of a lot around the hospital, and their job is critical to a well-functioning facility. Consequently, if a nurse fails to conduct him or herself in a manner that meets the appropriate standards set forth by the medical standard of care and you are harmed as a result, you may have a viable medical malpractice case.

A nurse may be held responsible for negligence as a result of any of the following:

  • Inadequately monitoring a patient.
  • Insufficiently recording a patient’s vital signs at the correct times.
  • Neglecting to take a critical vital sign.
  • Failing to properly record a patient’s nursing record into their chart.
  • Delivering the wrong type of drug.
  • Dispensing the wrong dose of a drug.
  • Providing the drug at an improper time.
  • Neglecting to monitor a patient for bedsores.
  • Failing to acknowledge a patient’s call soon enough.
  • Not reporting questionable symptoms and complaints to the doctor in charge.

Any of the aforementioned errors can establish negligence. If a nurse harms you and is an employee of the hospital, his or her negligence may be held accountable on behalf of both the individual nurse and the hospital itself.

We’re Here to Help

If you’ve experienced medical negligence in some form, you may have a viable medical malpractice case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office right away to learn how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 for a free consultation regarding your case.

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