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Hospital Liability for Medical Malpractice

Posted by attorney Edward Lake

In a variety of circumstances, employers can be held legally liable for the conduct of their employees. One example is when a doctor, surgeon, medical technician, nurse or any other healthcare provider employed by a hospital acts in a negligent manner, causing serious injuries to a patient. As a result, not only could the individual be sued for medical malpractice but the hospital could be liable as well.

There may be some exceptions to a hospital’s liability, for instance, if the medical professional is an independent contractor. Even then, if it’s found the hospital allowed someone who wasn’t competent, licensed or properly trained to provide services, there is the potential to hold the hospital responsible.

Types of Hospital Malpractice

Diagnosis Errors: Medical malpractice in a hospital can arise from a number of negligent actions. One example is a physician or specialist who negligently gives the wrong diagnosis or there is a significant delay in the correct diagnosis.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that anytime a diagnosis is incorrect it warrants filing a claim. But when it involves a serious health condition and it was a result of incompetence, then it may. Especially when something may have been treatable but it turns deadly or the condition worsens when immediate treatment would have helped.

Some diagnostic errors should never happen. Failing to order the appropriate tests and reading the results incorrectly are examples. Often what is taken into consideration is whether or not another doctor or specialist would have acted differently in a similar set of circumstances.

Birth Injuries: Examples of negligence related to birth injuries include failing to diagnose a medical condition in the unborn baby or mother. Using labor and delivery techniques incorrectly, causing harm to the baby or not responding appropriately to an emergency situation, such as performing a Caesarean section when it was warranted, also could be considered negligent actions.

Surgical Errors: Another type of medical malpractice stems from surgical errors. Operating on the wrong patient, wrong site, puncturing an internal organ and leaving a foreign object inside a patient are examples. Anesthesiologists can be liable for mistakes with intubating patients or giving too much anesthesia.

These are just some examples in which employees might have acted in a careless or reckless manner, resulting in them and the hospital being liable for serious injuries. But there are also situations in which the facility itself was negligent, for instance, providing an unsterile environment or medical equipment. If a patient were to develop a life-threatening infection, this may be considered negligence.

Seeking Legal Counsel if Filing a Claim against a Hospital

There is the potential to receive a lot of compensation when a hospital’s negligence is the cause of serious or fatal injuries. But these types of cases can be complicated, especially because its insurance company will try to reduce liability in any way possible. To discuss filing a medical malpractice claim against a hospital, contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates today.

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