Most claims name the doctor as the defendant. Yet, in certain instances, you may want to pursue the hospital.
Why the Hospital?
Realize that doctors typically act as contractors for the hospital. Nurses, paramedics, and technicians, by contrast, get treated as employees. When an employee behaves incompetently or engages in negligence, the hospital becomes responsible.
While the doctor may provide a diagnosis and recommended course of treatment, hospital employees may be left to carry out the doctor’s plan, assist in surgery, or treat an infection. Common instances of malpractice involving negligence have included:
- A staff member gives a patient the incorrect medication, too-large a dose of the recommended drug, or doesn’t check whether the patient is allergic. As a result, the patient has a negative reaction when given the medication.
- The doctor has a treatment plan written out, but staff members fail to follow it exactly.
- In assisting with surgery, a nurse leaves an object inside the patient’s body.
- The patient is left with untreated wounds and later develops a staph infection.
Along with being responsible for their employees, hospitals have a duty to ensure everyone working there meets standard requirements. In a suit, a hospital may be responsible if:
- It didn’t determine that staff members met educational, training, and licensing requirements.
- The hospital is insufficiently staffed.
- Its employees incorrectly keep records, including losing paperwork and having inaccurate files.
When Should You Sue the Doctor?
If the doctor performed the procedure or recommended the treatment, he or she is likely to be named as the defendant. Yet, the doctor-hospital relationship, as well as when employees report to a doctor, muddies the process. What should you be aware of?
- If the negligence could be traced back to an employee, was the employee being supervised by the doctor? And, in this instance, had the doctor been present and able to prevent the negligence from occurring?
- Is the doctor a hospital employee? When hospitals set the fees and working hours, the doctor is considered their employee. You may have found this out when reviewing your admission forms.
- When you enter the ER, the hospital rarely informs patients if a doctor is an employee or contractor.
- If the hospital continues to keep a negligent, incompetent doctor as a contractor, is aware of his behavior, and does nothing to improve the situation, the hospital may be named in the suit.
As you examine all of these factors, let Trantolo & Trantolo’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys guide your claim. For more information, call any of our Connecticut locations today.