Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued?
The claim for causing birth injury is not only limited to Doctors, but also extends to nurses, anesthesiologists, health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and others that provide health care services.
In case of any medical malpractice actions, hospitals can be directly held liable for their own negligence and can be vicariously held responsible for the negligence of their own employee. Vicarious liability means a party is held responsible not for its own negligence, but for the negligence of another.
Hospitals can be held liable under corporate negligence if the licensed care providers, such as doctors, physicians, nurses or other such staffs do not have the actual authority to provide the service they are providing. The hospitals must ensure that its each staff is authorized and licensed by required authorities to provide their service.
If a hospital fails to make reasonable inquiries regarding a member of its medical staff, it might be held liable under the “corporate negligence” doctrine for negligent supervision or retention, if the staff member’s negligent care injures a patient. A hospital might be held liable for its own negligence where, for example, it fails to investigate the credentials of an attending physician before granting him/her privileges at the hospital, or where it allows a physician whom it knew, or should have known, was incompetent, to treat patients at the hospital.
Hospitals are also required to ensure that there is a sufficient number of registered nurses on duty at all times to maintain quality patient care. A hospital that fails to do so may be held liable for injuries to patients resulting from a nursing shortage. Another area of potential liability arises when a hospital’s employees fail to follow the orders of a patient’s private attending physician. Conversely, if a hospital employee finds a private physician’s treatment plan to be clearly contraindicated, but fails to make a reasonable inquiry of the physician as to the treatment plan, the hospital could also be found liable.