Harmed in the Hospital, Should I Sue?
Although doctors and nurses are well trained, hospitals and medical care carry inherent risks that may result in being harmed by a hospital or their doctors and/or nurses. A medical malpractice lawyer could help you determine the best way to file your medical malpractice claim.
If someone is an employee of a hospital, the hospital is responsible if that employee hurts a patient by acting in a way that is not reasonably cautious when treating or dealing with a patient. But not every action or mis-action in a hospital rises to the level of medical malpractice.
Usually the nurses, medical technicians, and paramedics are hospital employees. However, a doctor may not necessarily be an employee of the hospital. And conversely, if a nurse or other subordinate makes a mistake while under the supervision of a doctor, that doctor could be held liable, but not the hospital.
Many doctors are independent contractors, which means that the hospital is a separate entity and not their employer. A doctor who makes a mistake, and is an independent contractor, will not cause a hospital to be responsible for the doctor’s actions.
Sometimes the hospital can be held responsible if it gives staff privileges to an incompetent or dangerous doctor, even if the doctor is an independent contractor. The hospital is also responsible if it should have known that a previously safe doctor had become incompetent or dangerous. For example, if a doctor becomes severely addicted to drugs and the hospital management knew about it, or it was so obvious they should have known about it, a patient injured by that doctor can sue the hospital.
Suing for negligent selection of a doctor requires proof that the hospital failed to follow proper screening procedures before granting the staff privileges. Usually this requires a comparison of how the hospital screened the doctor, against the screening procedures recommended by state or national medical bodies.
You may also be required to prove that the hospital would not have hired the doctor if an appropriate and effective screening procedure was followed. A plaintiff suing a hospital for negligently retaining a doctor will need to prove facts showing that the hospital administration knew or should have known that the doctor had become incompetent.
It’s often essential to get advice or representation from a lawyer because medical malpractice law is highly regulated by a complex body of rules. The process of winning a medical malpractice suit against a hospital comes with complex challenges. If you are considering a medical malpractice suit against a hospital, contact the experienced medical malpractice lawyers of Pasadena, the Law Offices of Andrew Ritholz, to discuss all of your legal options.