Can hospitals be held liable in medical malpractice claims?

When people in Stamford seek treatment for a medical condition, they trust that the medical professionals caring for them know what they are doing. However, preventable medical mistakes are all too common. When a person is the victim of a medical mistake that causes a worsened condition or other harm, they may wish to pursue a medical malpractice claim. However, it is important that the correct defendants are identified when filing such an action. The following are some situations in which the hospital could be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

It may be possible to name the hospital as a defendant if the hospital was negligent. Hospitals have a duty to hire medical staff members that have the appropriate education, training and licensing. If a hospital does not make reasonable inquiries during the hiring process and hires a health care professional who is inadequately educated, trained or does not have the appropriate license, the hospital may be held responsible through “corporate negligence,” which in the case of medical malpractice means negligent supervision or retention. The same can be said if a hospital is understaffed, if workers are poorly supervised or if patients were improperly discharged.

In addition, hospitals can be held “vicariously liable” for an employee’s negligence under the doctrine of “respondeat superior.” Basically, this means that if the employee’s act of negligence took place while the employee was performing job duties, the employer may be held responsible for that employee’s mistakes. However, it is important to keep in mind that respondeat superior does not apply to independent contractors, even if they work in the hospital at issue.

As this shows, it is not just the medical professional who may be named as a defendant in a medical malpractice claim. Sometimes, hospitals are also responsible for the harm the patient suffered.