As a medical malpractice lawyer Kansas City, KS victims depend on from the Morales Law Firm knows, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Sadly, this means that medical errors also lead to many injuries, resulting in potentially long-term impacts to patient health. If you are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit due to the negligence of those to whom entrusted your medical care, you will need the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to sort through many complex factors. If you were injured while receiving treatment at a hospital, one of your first questions may be, who should you actually sue?
Whose Actions Resulted In Negligent Treatment?
A hospital is an institution that employs hundreds of staff. If the injury resulted from negligent actions of a hospital employee, you will likely be suing the hospital itself, since the institution is responsible for its employees’ actions. Nurses, technicians, and support staff are usually hospital employees. If an employee is not reasonably skillful or careful during the course of your treatment and their actions result in injury, the hospital may be responsible. For instance, if a technician does not adequately sterilize equipment and this results in an infection, the hospital may be on the hook.
However, if a doctor injures a patient through negligence, the question of who can be held liable depends on whether the doctor is an employee of the hospital. Some doctors have staff privileges at a hospital but are not on the hospital’s payroll. If a doctor is an employee of the hospital, the hospital will likely be responsible; if not, you will likely sue the doctor directly.
Are There Exceptions?
If a hospital employee acts negligently while under supervision of a doctor who is not a hospital employee, you will likely be suing the doctor if the doctor was present and had the ability to prevent the employee’s negligence. For instance, if a nurse miscounts sponges during surgery and the surgeon injures a patient by leaving a sponge inside the incision, the surgeon may be liable—not the hospital, even though the hospital employs the nurse.
The hospital must make it clear that a doctor is not an employee of the hospital. If this was not made clear to you, you may be able to sue the hospital for malpractice if you experience an injury due to the doctor’s negligence. Typically, hospitals handle this by providing notice about the doctor not being a hospital employee on admissions forms. If a hospital continues staff privileges for an independent doctor who has demonstrated incompetency, you may be able to sue the hospital if you are injured by that doctor. For instance, if hospital management is aware that a doctor is abusing drugs or alcohol and they are still able to practice at the facility, the hospital may be liable.
Our team understands how stressful medical malpractice cases can be. For further support and insight into your specific case, contact a lawyer from Morales Law Firm today for assistance.