In the event of an illness or injury, patients must place their unfettering faith in hospital physicians and staff that they will receive quality medical care. However, many patients find themselves at the mercy of negligent, careless, and/or improperly trained medical professionals who commit serious errors in treatment and care.
There are many forms of hospital liability that range from non-life threatening mistakes to fatal errors in patient care. The main tenet and creed of a physician is to “first, do no harm”. This statement, when spoken dutifully, can mean the difference between life and death to a patient whose very physical existence is put in the hands of medical professionals who have professed an oath to care for their patients to the best of their ability.
When obviously avoidable medical errors occur, the legal system has set in place guidelines and laws which determine if a patient has been a victim of hospital liability. Hospitals are essentially responsible for the quality of care and those they employ to directly administer the care.
A common form of hospital liability is medical malpractice. Malpractice can include a wide array of medical mistakes, most of which are due to physician error in either diagnosing or treating an ailment. While the law recognizes the imperfection of the study of medicine, this does not remove the obligation of a physician to practice good medicine. Medical malpractice can be directed at an individual doctor and/or the hospital itself. Some of the typical charges of malpractice include failure to properly diagnose patient, delayed or refusal of patient treatment, pharmacological and prescribing errors, negligence, and death.
Failure to properly diagnose a serious illness such as cancer often has dire consequences for a patient. Treating most forms of cancer require timely diagnosis and medical intervention. When a physician or hospital fails to properly diagnose, a patient’s life is put in jeopardy.
Negligence on the part of a surgeon is another medical error that falls under hospital liability. This includes unnecessary mistakes during surgery which in effect either cause or could have caused perilous health risks and even death to a patient.
Errors in medication administration may also spurn a lawsuit falls under the category of hospital liability. The most prevalent mistake involving medicating hospital patients is due to a lack of reading and properly following administration protocol which can be found in each individual patient’s medical chart.
Due to the current seriousness of patient privacy laws, hospitals that are found to be out of compliance have also succumbed to lawsuits from patients claiming their privacy rights have been violated. Personal medical information must be kept strictly confidential. Hospitals and physicians who divulge sensitive information to unauthorized third party individuals may find themselves battling a liability charge.
It is very helpful for patients and their loved ones to have accurate information from a legal professional who is knowledgeable in hospital liability laws. While there is always the potential for medical mistakes to occur, understanding the rights of a patient in such instances is invaluable.