Hospital negligence is not necessarily the same thing as physician negligence. Contrary to popular belief, hospitals are not always responsible for the mistakes of their doctors. That’s because many physicians are not employees of the hospital, but merely have admitting privileges. In essence, they function as independent contractors, meaning their negligence may not be the responsibility of the hospital.
The question of whether the hospital may be considered responsible is an important one. The more potential defendants there are, the more parties exist to compensate the victim. Understanding the exact employment relationship between the doctor and the hospital is, therefore, a critical component in any malpractice lawsuit.
It’s worth noting that other professionals, such as nurses and technicians, are typically employed by the hospital. If one of those individuals made a mistake, it is, therefore, easier to hold the facility liable.
So what sorts of errors can be attributed to the hospital? Let’s start with a negligent hospital employee (nurse, technician, support staff, or doctor if he or she is employed by the facility). In this scenario, some examples of negligence that can be blamed on the hospital include errors committed by the individual employee such as:
- Misdiagnosing or failure to diagnose a disease
- Not paying attention to the patient’s medical history
- Not following up with the patient after a procedure
- Mixing up patient records
- Communication errors between staff members
- Treating a patient while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not ordering proper testing
- Not referring a patient to another doctor or hospital
Examples of Hospital Negligence
The following are some other errors that can be blamed on the hospital, depending on the circumstances:
Staffing is critical to ensuring the well-being of patients. Even the most skilled doctor can be hampered by insufficient staffing. If the hospital fails to ensure that enough employees are working their shifts, patient health may suffer.
This can come in one of two forms. First, concerning the regular employees of the hospital (e.g. nurses). Any time a staff member is hired, the hospital must make reasonable inquiries into that person’s background and competence to ensure the best interests of its patients are protected.
This may also come in the form of negligently granting doctors admitting privileges. As mentioned above, many doctors are not employees of the hospital but are allowed to work there through admitting privileges. Nonetheless, the hospital could fail to inquire as to the doctor’s competence, past disciplinary actions, or anything else suggesting the doctor is not fit to treat patients.
Insufficient Medical Equipment
Doctors and nurses don’t bring their own medical equipment to work; that’s provided by the hospital. Failure to have adequate medical equipment became a real problem during this year’s coronavirus pandemic. Virus or not, insufficient, improper, or defective equipment could cost lives.
Contact Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, the first thing you should do – after getting treatment for any injuries – is to speak with a knowledgeable Illinois medical malpractice attorney. Your lawyer will work to uncover not only the causes of your injury but the relationship between the responsible individual and the hospital. Ensuring that all liable parties are held accountable will start you on the path to getting the justice you deserve.
Call Hale & Monico today to discuss your case.