Hospital Negligence Leading to Patient Harm
A person can face complications as the result of medical treatment anytime there is a serious medical condition that leads to medical advice being sought. However, there are many preventable errors that lead to misdiagnosis, inappropriate treatment, or the prescription of the wrong medications. Many times, these mistakes are made by a person, but a hospital or other type of medical facility can create an environment in which errors are made and patients are exposed to additional harm.
A hospital has an obligation to hire the right doctors, nurses, and support staff through a rigorous vetting process, ensure that there are enough staff on duty to meet the needs of patients, that the hospital is maintained in a clean and organized manner, and that records are kept in such a way that the correct files are pulled when a patient is receiving treatment. When these things are not done, the hospital may be liable for the harm done to the patient, at least in part.
There are many different types of hospital negligence, but some of the most common errors include:
- Hiring doctors and other medical personnel who have a history of problems or lack the necessary training to perform the assigned tasks – background and reference checks should be performed;
- Failing to create the right supervisory structure in the hospital;
- Understaffing the hospital during shifts and forcing the doctors and other medical staff to work long hours;
- Creating a system where there are long delays to receive emergency medical treatment or get critical testing performed;
- Not having the right protocols in place for the cleaning and servicing of all medical equipment and machinery;
- Allowing a hospital environment where dangerous bacteria and other agents of infection thrive;
- Failing to implement the right protocols for checking in patients and ensuring that the right patient is receiving the right treatment; and
- Sending a patient home before he is sufficiently recovered.
One of the most common types of harm to a patient as the result of hospital negligence is where the patient is in the hospital for treatment of a medical issue and contracts a serious infection as a result of the hospital environment. While it is not possible to protect against all secondary infections, hospitals have policies and protocols that establish a standard for the eradication of as many of these infectious agents as possible. Some of the serious infections that happen are the result of staphylococcus and pneumonia. When a patient gets an infection as the result of a hospital stay, it is called a nosocomial infection. Hospital patients are particularly susceptible to these types of infections as the result of compromised immune systems. When a patient does contract an infection, it must be treated aggressively with antibiotics, often intravenous. Failing to diagnose this infection and sending the patient home can lead to serious consequences, including sepsis and death.
There are times when the hospital will not be liable for the errors committed by the treating physician. The analysis rests on whether the doctor was an employee or an independent contractor. It is important to review all the relevant facts in order to determine which parties are liable for the harm done to the patient.Peter Thompson & Associates Knows How to Hold the Right Parties Accountable
There are many things that can go wrong from the moment a patient steps into a hospital and registers for medical treatment. Proving what actually happened requires skilled medical malpractice attorneys, like those at Peter Thompson & Associates. We know how to track down the relevant evidence despite the hospital and medical staff’s attempts to conceal what really happened. We will sit down with you and evaluate your case during an initial consultation. To schedule a meeting, please call us at 800.804.2004.