Losing a dear person due to medical malpractice is a tragedy. This thing happens more often than you think. It’s important that you take the right steps when it happens.
Besides the doctor, you can also sue the hospital. But to do this you should determine their liability.
This could be easily done with the help of a New York wrongful death attorney.
When Is a Hospital Responsible for Wrongful Death?
There are many ways a hospital can be responsible for wrongful death. The most common ways are these:
- the negligence of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers who are employed by the hospital
- the hospital’s negligence in hiring and supervising its employees, managing and repairing its equipment, as well as the medical care at the hospital.
Responsibility for the Negligence of Independent Contractors
In general, a hospital isn’t legally liable for the negligence of doctors who were treating a patient but wasn’t employed by the hospital (independent contractors).
Determining whether the health provider works for the hospital or is just an independent contractor is a complex legal problem that involves things like an employment contract between the health provider and the hospital and how much control the hospital had over their job conditions and performance.
The more control the employer has over the performance of a physician who claims to be an independent contractor, the more likely it is that a court might find that the physician was an employee.
Negligence of Physicians Employed by the Hospital
These are the main categories of medical negligence:
- mistakes in prescribing or administering medications
- surgical errors
- negligence that affects pregnancy and childbirth
If a doctor who worked in a hospital was negligent and their negligence caused the patient’s death, the hospital would be at fault for the patient’s wrongful death.
Malpractice of Hospital Nurses
Nurses owe patients a fair professional duty of care and can do malpractice just like a doctor can. Nurses do many types of tasks that are related to a patient’s treatment so any serious nursing mistake can lead to a wrongful death of a patient. These are some of the most significant types of nursing malpractices are:
- incompetent monitor of a patient’s vital signs properly
- failure to properly register the patient’s nursing record into the patient’s chart
- giving the wrong type or amount of medication
- giving the medication at the wrong time
- failure to check a patient for bed sores
- failure to report suspicious symptoms and complaints to the doctor in charge.
Should I Sue the Hospital When the Doctor Was Negligent?
A hospital may be at fault for a doctor’s negligence that caused the patient’s wrongful death, but should the family sue both the doctor and the hospital?
This is more of a tactical instead of a legal decision. Your attorney will make that decision based on the amount of malpractice insurance coverage the doctor carries. If the doctor has enough malpractice coverage, then your lawyer may decide not to sue the hospital. This decision is so you don’t have to face any more defense attorneys than you have to.
In case your attorney decides to sue the hospital and the doctor, the insurance company will select several attorneys for both the doctor and the hospital. Keep in mind that the attorneys will think of ways to win and that is the last thing you want. Your only interest is to deal with one attorney.
The Hospital’s Negligence
The hospital can also be negligent in its actions. Various types of hospital negligence can cause the wrongful death of a patient. Here are some of how a hospital can be negligent:
The hospital may fail to verify that its healthcare providers are safe, licensed, and competent;
- Failure to fire incompetent, unsafe, and unlicensed employees
- Failure to provide patient safety protocols for problems like sanitation, labeling and administration of patient medication, prevention of patients falls;
- Understanding of medical and nursing personnel
If your loved one passed away due to medical negligence, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact a wrongful death attorney. You probably have too many questions and whether or not (and how) to file a wrongful death claim.
In this difficult time, the legal things are the last thing you think of. This is why it’s important to have a good lawyer who’d take care of these things.
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim in New York, our team in Cellino Law is here to assist you with everything.