Who Can I Sue in a Medical Malpractice Case?September 20, 2017
When we think about medical malpractice, we often think immediately of doctors being at fault for their conduct, but in actuality, there are other parties that may be responsible. Nurses, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals can also be sued.
Below you’ll learn more about who you can potentially sue in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Ontario.
In the case of medical malpractice suits, hospitals may be held liable for negligence or for the negligence of their employees.
The staff of a hospital is composed of licensed health care professionals including doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, and nurse practitioners. During the hiring process, the hospital must inquire into each applicant’s credentials including education and licensing. If the hospital does not do so and a staff member’s conduct results in patient injury, the hospital can be held responsible. In addition, if a hospital allows an incompetent or unlicensed physician to practice at that hospital, they can also be considered negligent.
Other situations where hospitals can be held liable if an injury occurs include:
• Failing to ensure that there are adequate nurses on staff to properly care for patients
• Employees that fail to follow a patient’s private attending physician’s instructions
• Failing to inquire into a questionable treatment plan made by a private physician
• Any situation where an employee acts negligently
Independent Contractor Exceptions
Sometimes physicians are independent contractors and not hospital employees, in which case the hospital cannot be held liable for the doctor’s conduct. Sometimes, however, hospitals may be considered liable for any contractors employed to operate an emergency room or outpatient facility.
Pharmaceutical Company Liability
If a drug causes injury to patients, a pharmaceutical company may be responsible if they didn’t warn doctors of the dangers or side effects of the drug. As long as a drug company notifies the physician of the risks of a particular drug, they cannot be held responsible. It is usually the physician that is responsible for advising the patient of any risks and side effects of medications and medical devices.
What to Do If You Experience Medical Malpractice
If you think you may have experienced medical malpractice but are unsure who is responsible or who you should sue, a Medical Malpractice lawyer can help. Most consultations are free and a lawyer can give you a clearer understanding of your legal rights.
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