As a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to understand which party can be held liable in order to seek compensation for your injuries. Liability in a medical malpractice case can be held by various parties in the healthcare industry, sometimes even multiple parties, which can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced attorney.
What Is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence, also known as medical malpractice, refers to a healthcare professional’s failure to provide appropriate care to a patient, resulting in harm or injury. This can occur when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care that a reasonable and competent professional in the industry would provide under similar circumstances.
Examples of medical negligence can include medical misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, failure to obtain informed consent, and other types of medical errors that result in harm to the patient. The experienced legal team at Drake Injury Lawyers understands how medical negligence can cause serious injury and result in health impacts including prolonged illness, permanent disability, health complications, and even death. Cases of medical malpractice vary in severity and types of injuries caused, however victims of medical negligence may be able to pursue legal action and seek compensation.
Healthcare Provider Liability
Healthcare providers have a duty to provide appropriate professional medical care for patients. When a healthcare provider is negligent and fails to meet a reasonable standard of care when treating a patient, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
Physicians and surgeons are responsible for diagnosing and treating medical conditions. If a physician makes an error in prescribing treatment or misdiagnosing a patient’s condition, they can be held liable for medical malpractice. If a surgeon makes an error, such as surgery on the wrong part or leaving a foreign object in the patient during surgery, they can be held liable for the harm and injury suffered by the patient.
Nurses are responsible for providing care to patients and assisting with requests from physicians. They are trusted to provide a duty of care for patients seeking treatment from doctors and can also be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide adequate care. If a nurse makes errors in administering medication or treatments directed by a physician, they can be liable for injuries or health complications experienced by the patient.
Anesthesiologists can be held liable for medical negligence in cases in which they fail to carefully evaluate a patient’s medical history and current health status before administering anesthesia. If they administer too much anesthesia or fail to monitor the patient’s vitals and adjust the dosage accordingly, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
Hospitals can also be held liable for medical negligence if they have contributed to the harm or injury suffered by a patient. Common ways in which hospitals can be found negligent and held liable for injuries caused by medical malpractice include:
- Failing to properly train or supervise staff: If hospital staff are not properly trained or supervised, they may be more likely to make errors that result in harm to patients.
- Failing to maintain equipment: Hospitals have a duty to maintain their medical equipment in proper working order. Poorly maintained equipment can contribute to harming a patient in which the hospital may be held liable.
- Inadequate staffing: Hospitals have a duty to ensure that they have adequate staff to provide appropriate care to patients. A lack of hospital staff can result in minimized attention to patients and a higher chance of medical negligence.
- Negligent hiring practices: When a hospital fails to carefully hire healthcare providers and hires an unqualified hospital worker, the hospital can be held liable for medical malpractice injuries caused by the worker.
- Failing to properly investigate and respond to patient complaints: Hospitals have a duty to respond to patient complaints appropriately and in a timely manner. If a hospital fails to do so and a patient is harmed as a result, the hospital may be held liable.
Liability of Pharmaceutical Companies
Pharmaceutical companies are responsible for providing safe medications that are effective in treating certain medical conditions. These companies can be held liable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide safe medications or fail to warn healthcare providers and patients of any potential side effects. In defective product cases involving medication recalls, the pharmaceutical company can be held liable for unintended side effects or injuries experienced by patients taking the drug.
If a pharmaceutical company fails to clearly label dosage instructions or provide adequate warnings about a medication’s potential side effects or risks which resulted in harm to a patient, they may be held responsible in a medical negligence claim. In cases in which patients are harmed due to a pharmaceutical company misrepresenting the safety or effectiveness of a medication, they can be held liable for medical malpractice. Pharmaceutical companies can also be held negligent if they fail to conduct proper testing for safety of the drug before releasing it to the market for use.