Can Hospitals Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice

We tend to think of doctors and nurses as the primary targets in medical malpractice cases. Under certain circumstances, a hospital may also be named a defendant in one of these lawsuits. Here’s what you need to know about holding a hospital accountable for a medical professional’s actions.

When Are Hospitals Liable for Employee Performance?

Hospitals are considered answerable for the performance of their staff. If one of their employees continually displays incompetence, the hospital may bear partial guilt. Not every situation rises to the level of negligence, though. A medical malpractice attorney can help make the correct determination. 

Nurses, medical techs, and supporting staff are all considered hospital workers. Therefore, if one of them was performing a task related to their job when the injury happened, the organization can usually be sued. One typical example is a nurse giving a patient the wrong medicine. 

On the other hand, hospitals are sometimes in the clear. When an employee is under the supervision of a doctor, only the medical professional can be named a defendant. Whether this is the case depends on the doctor’s whereabouts during the incident. Additionally, it matters whether the doctor could have reasonably controlled the staff member in question.

When Are Hospitals Liable for Contract Doctors?

Sometimes, hospitals may use doctors that they do not officially employ. When these outside physicians commit malpractice, there’s still a chance that the hospital can be held responsible.

Hospitals need to inform patients that a doctor they’re using is not their own. For this reason, these institutions typically mention this on admission forms. In some states, disclosing this knowledge does not provide hospitals with any form of legal protection.

In particular situations, there isn’t an opportunity for this information to be revealed to patients before they’re taken into emergency surgery. Because of this, people harmed during an ER visit can often sue the hospital where they received treatment. 

Hospitals that continue working with independent contractors that have a reputation for being dangerous may be held responsible for doing so. For example, hospitals must keep patients away from surgeons who enter the operating room intoxicated. If those in charge refuse to cut ties with a doctor who has a documented alcohol or substance abuse issue, that particular surgeon may be sued.

It’s possible to include the hospital along with your doctor as part of your medical malpractice case. Speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Oregon from a firm like Andersen Morse & Linthorst to figure out whether this possibility applies to your lawsuit.