A hospital or other medical facility may be guilty of malpractice if a doctor or other medical staff member commits an act that is unprofessional or negligent, such as failing to monitor the patient, leading to patient injury.
Consequences of Negligence
In this situation, the medical facility is allowing its employees to provide medical treatment and care that fails to meet the usual standard of care they are expected to provide. For example, if the hospital staff fails to monitor an inpatient’s medical condition and needs for an extended period various injuries could result due to the negligence. Failing to monitor vital signs, administer medications, or check the patients for increases in distress or illness can lead to severe health complications, permanent injury, and even death.
Proof of Negligence
Providing proof of negligence is an essential component in the process of suing a hospital. According to the doctrine of respondeat superior, any employer can be held liable for any negligent activities of its employees. This issue becomes complicated since surgeons and attending physicians are not direct employees of a hospital, rather, they provide services under independent contractor status with the hospital.
Although this issue can vary for each state, individuals may still be able to sue a hospital if a relationship between the hospital and the negligent member of the health care team can be proven. In this way, a person does not have to provide proof of hospital negligence and must focus their efforts on proving negligence on the part of the medical professional and their employment status with the hospital.
There are several scenarios in which it may be possible to sue a hospital for negligence, including refusal to treat, issues regarding informed consent, infections acquired in the hospital, violation of confidentiality, and knowingly allowing someone who is not licensed to provide care practice medicine in the hospital.