Determining Hospital Liability in a Medical Malpractice Claim August 29, 2012.

When filing a medical malpractice claim, it’s important to know who to sue for your injury. An attorney can determine whether the doctor should be held responsible and whether you should include the hospital as a defendant.

The Hospital’s Responsibilities

A hospital is responsible for the actions of its employees – doctors, nurses, paramedics and other medical staff – while that person performs work-related duties for patients at the hospital. Hospitals are also responsible for proper maintenance and equipment care.

The equipment must be able to be used safely for patient procedures, and staff must be trained on the proper ways to use the equipment. If any type of equipment malfunctions or is used incorrectly, hospital staff is obligated to report it so that the equipment can be repaired or replaced, if necessary.

The same responsibilities apply for operations and medical procedures. A hospital is responsible for ensuring that there are enough operating rooms available for planned procedures. There must also be an adequate number of staff on duty to ensure that the patient is properly cared for before, during and after the procedure.

Any breach of these duties can result in hospital liability if an incident of medical malpractice were to occur. Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys can determine liability based on the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Determining Hospital Liability

A hospital is liable for medical malpractice if any of its employees harms a patient through incompetence or negligence. It is important to determine what is and what is not considered negligence.

Side effects that occur as a result of surgery are not necessarily considered medical malpractice because invasive procedures like surgery always carry a certain risk. However, if the doctor failed to inform the patient of the risks of surgery, and the patient suffers injuries without being aware of the risks, then medical malpractice may be claimed.

It is important to determine what employees are considered hospital employees. Paramedics, nurses and medical staff typically are considered hospital employees. Many doctors are considered independent contractors, which means that the hospital cannot be charged with medical malpractice if the doctor injures a patent. However, some doctors are hospital employees.

How can you tell if a doctor is a hospital employee? A hospital will control the doctor’s:

  • working hours;
  • vacation time; and
  • fees.

If a doctor caused medical malpractice in your case, Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine if hospital liability can be charged.

There are some exceptions. If a hospital knowingly allows a doctor to perform services there, even though the doctor is known to be incompetent, then the hospital possibly could be sued for malpractice.

In addition, if a hospital employee was supervised by an independent contractor and still committed medical malpractice under the doctor’s supervision, then the doctor likely would be responsible in that case, not the hospital.

Contacting Cleveland Medical Malpractice Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Medical malpractice claims can be complex, especially when trying to prove hospital liability. In addition, laws vary from state to state. If you were a victim of medical malpractice, get help from Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys. The lawyers at Mellino Law Firm can review your case and discuss your legal options. Contact us today at (440) 333-3800.