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General Hospital Liability in Medical Malpractice Cases

Hospitals are responsible for their employees, contractors, and staff. A hospital has the same obligation as any commercial enterprise to protect people, who enter its premises, whether they are patients or not. Here are some examples of medica

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alpractice cases that challenged a hospital’s liability.

1. The hospital must maintain its buildings and equipment in good operating condition.

In Wisconsin, a woman went to visit her mother in a hospital and left her children outside. When they climbed onto a ledge to look in their grandmother’s window, one child fell off the ledge and suffered a head injury. The hospital said it was not liable. The child was not allowed inside as a visitor because of its age, and the hospital had no control over the child’s actions outside the building. The court disagreed and said the hospital had a duty to make its premises safe for everyone, inside and out.

2. Patients must be protected from dangerous conditions and self harm, especially if they are confused, drugged, suicidal, mentally or physically impaired.

In a Kentucky case, a hospital patient tried to walk down a flight of stairs while under sedation. She fell and was killed. The court held that the hospital was negligent in failing to keep her restrained in bed, when she was mentally confused.

3. Patients must be protected from harm or invasion of privacy by other patients or intruders.

In Massachusetts, a reporter disguised as a doctor sneaked into the delivery room. When his story appeared in a newspaper, the patient sued the reporter and the hospital for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

The hospital said it was not responsible, since the reporter had gotten in without anyone’s knowledge. The doctors and nurses in the delivery room thought he was a new hospital orderly. But, the court said the hospital was liable, because it failed to give the patient the protection she had the right to expect.

4. Patients must be protected from hospital-acquired infections.

These are infections that patients contract from other patients or hospital personnel. It was thought, these infections were the result of germs passing from one patient to another. But, with sterilization techniques and antibiotics, chances are a hospital-acquired infection is due to some negligence on the part of the nurses or doctors.

Important Exception

It is difficult to sue a hospital, if you are injured by normal hospital conditions and practices. People who slip and fall on highly-polished floors will often waste a lot of money and effort trying to sue the hospital as if it were a department store. This is a non-starter, because hospitals are supposed to have highly-polished floors. A Mississippi man fell and suffered a concussion while waiting outside the operating room, where his wife was undergoing surgery. He claimed that he was overcome by chemical odors from the operating room. The court said the odors were normal in a hospital and dismissed his lawsuit.

Thousands of patients suffer, due to malpractice, and do not get the compensation they deserve. If you are a malpractice victim, or your client is a malpractice victim, contact JD.MD, Inc., today at 800-225-5363. We can provide you with a Comprehensive Screening Report, an initial case evaluation, of your medical malpractice cases.

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