When you discuss medical malpractice, most people assume that you’re talking about suing a doctor. But what if you’re injured while in the hospital as a result of malpractice, but it’s not the doctor’s fault? Who is responsible? In many cases, the only remaining option is the hospital.
Physician vs. Hospital Negligence
Hospitals are corporate entities, and like any other corporation, they look for ways to limit their liability exposure. One way that they do this is by making it clear that most of the doctors at the hospital are not employees of the hospital – they have privileges to practice there but are not providing care on behalf of the hospital. As a result, the hospital cannot be held liable for the negligence of the doctor. Similarly, your doctor cannot be held responsible for the hospital’s negligence, either.
That said, some doctors are hospital employees. It can be very difficult to determine who is and who is not an employee of the hospital. Determining which parties are responsible for someone’s injuries is one of the biggest issues that lawyers help their clients resolve.
Common Examples of Hospital Negligence
Generally speaking, hospitals are expected to prove care according to certain standards. When they fail to provide the necessary standard of care, the hospital has acted negligently and can be held liable for any injuries that were caused as a result of their negligence. Here are some common ways in which hospitals fail to provide an adequate standard of care:
Understaffing. This occurs when the hospital doesn’t have enough staff to provide adequate care. For example, a shortage of medical staff may result in inadequate care for the patients. However, a shortage of other staff can also rise to the level of negligence when it results in failing equipment or utilities or unsanitary conditions within the hospital.
Underqualified personnel. This occurs when the medical staff is poorly trained or doesn’t have the necessary certifications to provide adequate care to the patients. The hospital may be held liable for any injuries caused by its negligence in failing to ensure its staff was qualified and properly trained to provide the necessary care.
Negligent hiring. This occurs when the hospital hires someone that they know or should have known to be incompetent, potentially dangerous, or otherwise unsuitable to work in a hospital. For example, a hospital may be held liable when a patient is attacked by a staff member who is a convicted sex offender.
What Should I Do?
If you’ve been injured as a result of hospital negligence, we strongly recommend that you at least meet with an attorney. Again, hospitals are corporate entities, and they will definitely have lawyers to defend them against personal injury claims. In addition, the issues involved can be complicated, and navigating the legal system is very difficult for non-lawyers.
We also recommend that you take action as soon as possible. Memories fade with the passage of time, documents get lost, and people change jobs. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make your case. More importantly, waiting too long could result in losing your rights.
Contact a Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help
Since 1992, the lawyers at Slappey & Sadd have been helping victims of medical malpractice get the compensation they deserve. If you think you’ve been injured as the result of hospital negligence, contact us today for a free consultation – call us at 404-255-6677 or send us an email.