Hospital and Staff LiabilityTherer are several scenarios in which medical negligence can occur.
Employees and staff: A hospital will be liable if an employee harms a patient carelessly or negligently. Patients can bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital if their injuries have a direct correlation to the reckless, negligent, or incompetent actions of the hospital employee. But in some cases, doctors are not considered employees. They are said to be independent contractors. In that case, they will be solely responsible for the patient’s damages.
Misdiagnosis: About twelve million people are misdiagnosed in the USA in clinics, doctor's offices, and emergency rooms yearly. Misdiagnosing a serious condition often leads to wrong treatment and short-term or long-term harm to the patient.
Medication Errors: These errors involve prescribing wrong medications, incorrect dosages, or a prescription to the wrong patient. Medication errors can lead to serious health complications, allergic reactions, or drug interactions. Patients can sue the hospital or the doctor if negligence in prescribing or administering medication has caused the patient direct harm.
Surgery errors: Surgery blunders are the leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. These errors include incorrect surgical site, organ damage, anesthesia complications, or leaving surgical instruments inside the patient. Surgical errors can lead to severe complications, additional surgeries, and long-term health issues. Surgical error attorneys can help you recover the maximum damages compensation for botched surgeries.
Informed Consent: Informed consent is when a medical professional provides a patient with information about a proposed treatment, including its risks, benefits, and alternatives. Patients suffering from a procedure they were not fully informed about may be able to file a claim against the hospital for failure to obtain informed consent.
Statutes and Proving NegligenceIt's important to note that medical malpractice claims have a statute of limitations. In Illinois, medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years of when the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, and no later than four years after the alleged malpractice. Additionally, medical malpractice cases in Illinois use comparative negligence to determine damages. Specifically, Illinois follows a modified proximate negligence rule, which means that a plaintiff can recover damages only if their fault is less than 50%. If the plaintiff's fault is 50% or more, they are barred from recovering damages. Also, in Illinois, expert testimony is typically required to establish the standard of care and whether the healthcare professional breached that standard.
Hospital and Professional ComplianceAll medical facilities and providers risk getting sued for issues such as the wrong diagnosis of diseases or conditions, poor or inappropriate treatment, and overall poor patient outcomes. The primary element in medical malpractice litigation is that the health care provider owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Legal liability in medical negligence suits will arise when the patient proves the medical provider owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and the breach directly caused them injury.
Duty of care is the legal concept whereby doctors, nurses, hospitals, and staff owe patients the degree of care based on what a prudent or reasonable medical provider would exercise under the same circumstances. Medical providers must stay educated on the best and latest guidelines for treating various conditions. The legal duty of care by healthcare providers only applies to patients. However, physicians may owe this duty to third parties in other cases. For instance, it may be found that a physician's negligent actions towards a patient caused a contagious infection to affect another person, in which case they will be liable for damages. These other factors can also contribute to medical negligence:
- Unavailability of enough medical supplies, including beds for patients
- Treatment delays caused by poor organization and scheduling
- Treatment delays due to inappropriate triage
- Inaccurate lab test results