Can a hospital be liable in a medical malpractice suit?

When we enter a hospital in Ohio, we expect the medical professionals to treat us with professional care and service. The last thing on our minds should be the thought or potential that we will walk out sicker or more injured than when we entered. Unfortunately, like any industry or business, mistakes can happen. When it comes to medical malpractice however, the mistakes could lead to serious illness, injuries or even, in some cases, death. Can a hospital itself be liable for medical malpractice? The short answer is yes, but it is more complicated than that.

Hospitals may be found negligent if it can be proven that they failed to properly vet their employees, including licensed physicians, nurses, assistants and nurse practitioners. Hospitals must also make certain they have a sufficient number of staff on hand 24/7 to ensure that all patients are cared for appropriately.

If a hospital employee injures a patient, the hospital may be held responsible through vicarious liability. This means that an employer is liable for the negligence of their employee under the legal doctrine of "respondeat superior." It is important to note, however, that many doctors and some staff are independent contractors, not employees. In these situations, a hospital cannot be liable for negligence.

If you find yourself suffering from a medical malpractice injury or illness, you may want to seek compensation for your condition. This could be pain and suffering, lost wages if the condition has put you out of work, as well as costs associated with additional medical care or rehabilitation. There is a statute of limitation on such cases however, so it is important to address the issue sooner rather than later.

Source: FindLaw, "Medical Malpractice: Who Can Be Sued?" Accessed Aug. 28, 2017

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