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Hospital Liability For Employee/Staff Mistakes

Mar 1

A lawsuit might be filed as a result of hospital administration's carelessness, and the institution could be held accountable for therapeutic errors committed by workers.

In the hospital context, the sorts of carelessness that can cause patient injury span the medical malpractice spectrum, from physician misconduct to nursing malpractice to physical or occupational therapist malpractice. When a patient's condition is aggravated by a failure to maintain a reasonably safe environment, the hospital management may be held accountable.

In most cases, hospital responsibility may be separated into two categories:

  • Liability for hospital workers' carelessness, in accordance with the notion of vicarious liability in personal injury law, which states that employers (including hospitals) can be held accountable for their employees' negligence. As a result, a hospital can be held liable for medical negligence committed by a physician, nurse, or other health-care employee.
  • Hospital responsibility for injuries caused by the facility's own faults, such as recruiting and overseeing incompetent personnel and neglecting to maintain and repair equipment.

Let's look at these types of liabilities in more detail.


Hospital Liability For Employee Negligence

While many health care practitioners who work in hospitals are independent contractors (i.e., not full-time or part-time employees of the hospital), others are full-time or part-time employees of the hospital. A patient affected by the medical malpractice of an employee doctor or other health care professional would be allowed to sue both the hospital and the individual employee since the hospital is accountable for the carelessness of its personnel.



The majority of medical malpractice lawsuits fall into one of the following categories:

  • faults in prescribing or administering medicine surgical errors misdiagnosed neglect influencing pregnancy and delivery

Because physicians are frequently independent contractors who work for (but not for) the hospital, some inquiry may be required.



Nurses execute a variety of activities linked to a patient's care, and if the nurse's actions fall below the appropriate medical standard of care, a malpractice claim may be filed.

A nurse is capable of:

  • failure to appropriately monitor a patient
  • not taking a patient's vital signs at the appropriate times
  • neglect to take a critical vital sign insert the wrong kind of medicine into the patient's file fail to enter the patient's nursing record into the patient's chart
  • administering the incorrect dosage of medicine
  • administering medicine at an inopportune moment
  • failing to check for bed sores in a patient
  • failing to reply to a patient's call in a timely manner failing to report suspicious signs and concerns to the responsible physician

Any of these blunders might be considered neglect. If the nurse is a hospital employee, the hospital is liable for the nurse's carelessness.



Therapists can be negligent, whether they are physical, occupational, or mental health therapists. A physical therapist, for example, might not correctly follow a physician's instructions or move a patient's wounded limb too vigorously, re-breaking a bone or ripping a ligament or tendon that the patient was meant to be rehabbing.

Hospital Liability

Hospital Liability For Independent Contractors' Negligence

What if the at-fault doctor, nurse, or therapist was an independent contractor rather than a hospital employee? Is the hospital still vicariously responsible for the carelessness of the health-care provider?

This is a difficult subject that is determined by your state's laws, but in general, courts will consider the following factors:

  • the specific terms of the employment agreement between the hospital and the health-care provider, including how much control the hospital had over the health-care provider's working conditions and performance, as well as how the provider was compensated

As a general rule, the more influence an employer has over a seemingly independent contractor's performance, the more likely a court will determine that the apparently independent contractor was actually an employee.


Negligence On The Part Of The Hospital

Direct hospital negligence might include the hospital's failure to hire and supervise workers, to maintain and repair equipment, and to monitor any other aspect of the hospital's operations.

The following categories of complications can arise as a result of hospital negligence:

  • workers who were hired in a negligent manner (such as failing to verify that its health care providers are properly licensed)
  • failing to guarantee that its employee health-care practitioners meet their license obligations, such as continuing medical education
  • failure to fire personnel who are inept, unlicensed, or dangerous
  • failure to implement effective patient safety practices for concerns like as hand washing, sanitation, patient fall prevention, patient safety, and keeping up with new medical advancements
  • understaffing of medical and/or nursing staff, mislabeling medicines, and breaching patient confidentially by losing or misusing patient records are all examples of patient confidentiality violations

Learn more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital.

Establishing a hospital liability malpractice case can be difficult, and the procedural rules in these types of lawsuits can be complicated, so if you believe you've been harmed by a hospital's or a member of its staff's medical negligence, it's a good idea to speak with a medical malpractice attorney.