Understanding Hospital Malpractice Cases
There are not many people who would say that they view a stay in a hospital as something to look forward to, and there are many more who actually live in dread of a trip to the nearest hospital or medical center. Some of us simply dislike having any sort of medical care, some of us get upset by the cold sterility that seems to be so common in a hospital, and some of us live in fear of something going wrong.
After all, that last concern is pretty valid when you consider the number of hospital malpractice claims that occur each year. If you are someone who is facing some sort of hospitalization, or you just exited a hospital convinced that hospital malpractice occurred, we’ll take some time to understand the issue fully.
So, how can you know what constitutes hospital malpractice? In general, anyone who is employed by a hospital, and they cause harm to a patient through negligence or carelessness, it is probably going to qualify as hospital malpractice. That means someone who is responsible for wheeling a patient from one floor to another, a nurse, a medical technician, and even a paramedic. Essentially, if someone is employed by a hospital and they injure a patient, the patient has a valid hospital malpractice claim.
Are doctors included in this list? Actually, this is where a lot of confusion occurs because a doctor may not necessarily be an employee of a hospital. So, if you suffer a serious injury at the hands of a surgeon, you cannot build a hospital malpractice case unless that doctor is an official employee of the hospital and acting as its agent when your injury occurs.
Another important thing to know is that someone working under your doctor’s supervision is not considered an employee of the hospital either – unless the doctor is an employee of the hospital. Let’s say that your doctor orders an employee of the hospital to do something, and it ends up injuring you. It is the doctor and not the hospital that is likely to be liable.
A typical example of this is when a surgical nurse might leave a clamp inside of a patient, and the surgeon then stitches the patient closed with that clamp inside. Because the nurse was supervised by the doctor, it alleviates the hospital of blame.
When to Contact an Attorney
How do you know when to build a case against a hospital for some sort of medical malpractice? How can you know when it is better to pursue the physician? The first thing you always want to do when you have suffered any negative results out of a surgical procedure or hospital visit is to contact an attorney. Choose someone with experience in medical malpractice and personal injury cases of this kind, and then meet with them to discuss the options.
You will have to prove that the harm done was by the surgeon or employee in question, and also that it was their treatment that caused the harm. There is also the matter of determining if it is the hospital or the doctor who is liable. Did the hospital fail to make it clear that the physician was not their employee? Was the doctor’s reputation solid enough to warrant his or her employment by the hospital? Was the care given in an emergency room? This also adds a new twist to the case because some doctors are employed by hospitals in this capacity and some are independent contractors.
Clearly, whenever you are injured in a hospital, it requires that you receive compensation. A good attorney can help you determine who to pursue for that compensation.
NOLO.com. Medical Malpractice. 2015. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/medical-malpractice-patients-sue-hospital-negligence-30189.html