It is common to wonder if a hospital can be held accountable for negligence or medical malpractice if someone is hurt while obtaining medical treatment there. Though hospitals are frequently held liable for inept treatment provided by staff such as nurses and medical technicians, they are rarely held liable for medical malpractice committed by doctors. There are times when a hospital is and is not liable for medical negligence perpetrated by hospital personnel, doctors, anesthesiologists, and other health care providers.
When injured at the hands of a doctor or hospital, it is important to first secure health and safety and then to seek necessary legal advice. Hospital malpractice can be complex and involve multiple parties, which is why consulting with a Tulsa hospital malpractice lawyer at Graves McLain can be beneficial to receiving compensation after an injury.
According to a well-established legal principle known as “respondeat superior,” if a hospital employee injures a patient due to incompetence, the institution is often liable. In other words, if staff is careless, the hospital is normally responsible for any injury caused to the patient.
Nurses, medical technicians, and support workers are typically employed by hospitals. Patients can usually file a lawsuit against the hospital for subsequent harm if the employee was doing something related to his or her employment when the patient was injured.
In addition, if a hospital employee commits malpractice while working under the supervision of a doctor, the patient may be able to sure doctor, and the hospital may be immune from liability. When a medical error happens, whether an employee is under the supervision of a doctor depends on whether the doctor was there and had enough control over the treatment scenario to prevent the employee’s neglect.
The nature of a doctor’s relationship with the hospital or medical facility determines whether he or she is a hospital employee. Although some doctors work in hospitals, the majority do not. In the perspective of the law, non-employee doctors are typically regarded as “independent contractors,” which implies that the hospital cannot be held liable for the doctor’s medical negligence, even if the misconduct occurred within the institution and the doctor is legally linked with it.
Even if a hospital is normally not accountable for the negligence of an independent contractor doctor, it may be held liable in specific circumstances.
A patient may be able to sue the hospital for malpractice if the facility does not make it apparent to the patient that the doctor is not an employee. Hospitals try to prevent this situation by stating on admission documents that the doctor is not an employee of the hospital.
Patients injured in an emergency room are in a different scenario. In most cases, the hospital is unable to advise emergency department patients that a doctor is not an employee. This means that ER patients can frequently sue the hospital for medical malpractice committed by a clinician, and this would be permissible under the law.
Hospital malpractice can be seen through many different occurrences. Some forms of neglect are more difficult to spot, especially when the patient is unaware of the injury for weeks, months, or even years. Doctors, nurses, technicians, and other healthcare professionals can make mistakes that result in catastrophic consequences for patients.
The following are the most typical types of hospital malpractice lawsuits:
Each year, according to a report by Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 250,000 people in the United States die as a result of medical malpractice of some kind. Medical errors are now the third greatest cause of death in the United States, behind cancer and heart disease.
Hospitals can be found directly accountable for their own carelessness in medical malpractice cases, as well as “vicariously” liable for the negligent actions of an employee. Vicarious liability refers to a situation in which one party is held liable for the negligence of another.
When a hospital fails to investigate the credentials of an attending physicians before granting them privileges, or when it enables a physician who is known of should have been known to be incompetent, it could be held accountable for negligence.
For hospitals to provide quality care to patients, they should always have a sufficient amount of staff on hand. This includes registered nurses and physicians. If a hospital fails to maintain adequate staffing levels, they could be held accountable for patient injuries caused by a the shortage.
The majority of medical malpractice claims revolve around whether or not a doctor was negligent in treating (or neglecting to treat) a patient. And medical negligence is always determined by the medical standard of care that was in effect at the time the patient was injured.
When examining medical malpractice claims, the “medical standard of care” is often defined as the degree and level of care that a reasonably competent and skilled medical professional with a similar educational background and in a similar medical community would have rendered to the patient.
A trained expert medical witness will almost always testify in a medical malpractice lawsuit as to what the accepted medical standard of care was for the situation in question and how the doctor’s deviation from that standard contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.
Hospital malpractice does not occur simply because a health care provider or the hospital makes a mistake. Medical treatment must fall below an acknowledged medical standard of care, and the substandard treatment must cause injury to the patient in order to be considered malpractice.
In other words, there is no malpractice until the care provider did (or omitted to do) something that fell below the medical standard of care.
Medical negligence occurs when a clinician inadvertently harms a patient, either through ignorance or by failing to take action when it is required. Negligence in the realm of medication is very widespread. A doctor might, for example, administer a prescription without considering the possibility of a hazardous drug interaction, which could cause the patient to experience anything from slight pain to life-threatening consequences.
Hospital malpractice can occur in a variety of contexts. In contrast to medical negligence, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional is aware of the potential consequences of their acts (or inactions) and nonetheless proceeds.
When it comes to hospital malpractice, surgery is the most frequent area of concern. If the surgical team is rushing and fails to sterilize surgical equipment adequately, it is considered medical malpractice and could result in infection or worse for the patient.
According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins, medical errors kill over 250,000 individuals in the United States each year. According to some sources, the number could go as high as 440,000. After heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the third largest cause of death.
The reason for the disparity is that human errors and system/hospital faults are rarely noted on death certificates by physicians, funeral directors, coroners, and medical examiners. Death certificates are what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use to compile national death data, and when these are not properly reported, the data is incorrect.
Despite the fact that the cost of medical malpractice has decreased dramatically in the United States as a whole over the years, malpractice charges vary greatly from state to state. Oklahoma is consistently in the top 15 states for medical malpractice claims. According to the data, there are on average over 40 paid malpractice claims per million residents each year in Oklahoma.
Reach out to our medical malpractice lawyers at Graves McLain today. An experienced attorney will review the details of your case and determine the best course of action. Contact us today toll-free at 918-359-6600, email us directly, or request a free consultation online.
An experienced attorney will review your situation at no cost to you. Trust our team. We’re here to help.
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