Hospitals are supposed to treat illnesses, heal injuries, and save lives. Unfortunately, not all healthcare workers are equally committed to providing an acceptable level of patient care, and some people wind up suffering, or even dying, as a result. When a patient doesn’t receive adequate care and it results in unnecessary physical harm or wrongful death, it may be possible to sue.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Technically, hospitals are just buildings where the business of providing healthcare is conducted. Like all organizations, though, hospitals are responsible for training their employees and holding them to reasonable standards. When medical professionals make serious, negligent mistakes, the Hughey Law Firm usually helps clients fight hospital negligence cases instead of suing individual doctors, nurses, or other care providers.
There’s an exception that proves the rule. If a doctor causes injury to the patient and he or she is an independent contractor, it may not be possible to sue the hospital. Injured patients can only hold the hospital accountable in certain circumstances. It may be possible to sue the hospital if:
- It was not made clear that the doctor is an independent contractor, not an employee.
- The patient was taken to the emergency room and had no chance to sign consent forms.
- The hospital did not take adequate precautions when hiring or training its employees.
The hospital has failed to discharge employees with behavioral issues that could jeopardize patient safety.
Proving Medical Negligence
Medical negligence often results in civil actions and can even lead to criminal prosecution. It’s defined in a very particular way. To win a medical negligence case, an injured patient or the family of someone who suffered a wrongful death must prove three things:
- The patient was owed a duty of care by the hospital staff.
- One or more members of the staff breached that duty of care.
- The patient suffered harm as a direct result of that breach.
Proving medical negligence can be a serious challenge. It takes the collection of a lot of detailed evidence to determine fault. Medical malpractice lawyers can help patients obtain and analyze documents such as medical records, the dates when hospital negligence occurred, and records of staff members’ job-related mistakes.
Attorneys don’t just know exactly what kinds of documentation will be required to prove a hospital negligence case, either. They can also call expert witnesses to discuss how they would have handled the situation differently and prove that the healthcare providers in question did not uphold their duty of care.
Common Examples of Hospital Negligence
Any breach of a healthcare provider’s duty of care to a patient can be considered medical negligence. Some examples come up more often than others, though. Common examples of hospital negligence include:
- Failures to diagnose conditions in a timely manner.
- Mistakenly operating on the wrong limb or performing the wrong procedure.
- Leaving surgical instruments inside of a patient.
- Allowing immobilized patients to develop pressure sores.
- Misdiagnoses that delay appropriate treatment.
Seek Legal Compensation Now
If someone has suffered harm as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence during a hospital stay, it’s important to take action quickly. Medical malpractice claims leveled against hospitals can take some time to resolve and injured patients deserve just compensation. Contacting a hospital malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after it becomes clear that one or more medical professionals have breached their duty of care can expedite the process.