Can You Sue a Hospital for Misdiagnosis?
Hospitals care for a high volume of patients. Doctors, nurses, and other staff are required to handle a wide variety of patient illnesses, injuries, and complaints, from medical emergencies to chronic disease. We expect hospitals and the people who work there to maintain a high level of care, accurately diagnosing our ailments and providing proper treatment.
Unfortunately, hospital staff do make mistakes. When unacceptable errors lead to serious injuries or the death of patients, both individual employees and the hospital itself may be liable.
Misdiagnosis errors are among the most common examples of medical malpractice in hospitals. If you or a loved one suffered harm in a hospital due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Klein Lawyers today for a free consultation, and we can help you determine if you have a case.
Are Hospitals Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Liability for medical malpractice may rest with just one practitioner or a group of providers whose actions fell below the standard of care for their profession. Diagnostic errors are frequently the result of negligence in a healthcare setting, potentially putting patients at risk for serious complications, unchecked progression of a disease, and other adverse events.
Multiple providers may be liable for malpractice, including doctors as well as nurses, physical therapists, and others. Depending on the circumstances, a hospital may also be liable for its staff’s failure to diagnose a patient’s condition promptly and properly.
The key question in any malpractice claim brought against a hospital is: Were the at-fault providers employees of the hospital?
Many staff members involved in clinical care, including nurses, physician assistants, medical technologists, and others, are employed by hospitals. If errors on their part result in a misdiagnosis that led to your injuries and damages, you will likely have a claim against both the members of staff and the hospital.
Doctors, however, are not always employed by the hospitals where they provide care. Many doctors have privileges to practice medicine at one or more hospitals, but they are legally considered independent contractors. If this is the case, the hospital is unlikely to share in the liability for the doctor’s medical errors. However, if the doctor is considered an employee of the hospital, the facility may be liable for instances of misdiagnosis and other forms of malpractice.
In most cases, employers are liable for the negligent acts of their employees. Hospitals are no exception. It is in your best interest to contact a misdiagnosis lawyer who can review the facts of your case and identify the employment relationships between the at-fault practitioner(s) and the hospital where you received care.
How Hospital Malpractice Can Lead to Misdiagnosis
Most medical malpractice litigation focuses on the wrongful actions and inactions of individual doctors and other care providers. Although the practitioner may have committed the initial error, it is important not to overlook the role that malpractice on the hospital’s part may have played in harming a patient.
The following kinds of hospital malpractice can increase the likelihood of misdiagnosis:
- Failure to hire qualified staff: Doctors, nurses, and other practitioners must meet certain educational and training requirements to do their jobs effectively. Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are more likely to occur when hospitals hire workers with insufficient skill or time on the job.
- Failure to provide staff members with appropriate training: Modern hospitals use a variety of complex procedures to provide patient care. If employees are not trained in these systems, accurate diagnosis suffers.
- Emergency room errors: Negligent hiring and understaffing may lead to an inability to respond appropriately to the limited time and significant number of patients inherent in emergency medicine.
- Failure to obtain a patient’s full medical history: Without complete information on a patient’s health history, serious conditions may be overlooked by hospital staff.
- Laboratory errors: Improperly trained or unqualified lab technicians may fail to perform the tests ordered by physicians. Hospitals may also be liable for inadequate safety and hygiene protocols that can lead to the contamination of samples.
- Equipment failures: Hospitals have an obligation to keep all diagnostic equipment in good working order. Misdiagnosis and other diagnostic errors may be caused by operator error, failure to maintain equipment, or using outdated or faulty machines.
- Miscommunication: Misdiagnosis frequently occurs when providers and/or departments of the hospital fail to communicate with one another.
Many of these hospital errors are not isolated incidents. Rather, they tend to represent a systemic problem within a particular facility. Unfortunately, these issues can result in multiple patients being misdiagnosed by doctors and staff at the same hospital.
When patients file lawsuits against hospitals for misdiagnosis and other types of medical malpractice, they are not just pursuing fair compensation for their injuries or the loss of a loved one. They also make it possible for other patients to avoid the same fate.
Believe You’ve Been Injured as a Result of Hospital Malpractice? Contact a Misdiagnosis Lawyer Today
Doctors and hospitals are unlikely to admit fault when a patient is injured or dies. These parties vigorously contest liability for malpractice, making it difficult for patients and their families to recover the damages they suffer as a result of medical negligence.
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis rarely occur due to a “simple mistake.” These errors are often caused by the failure of medical providers to assess a patient’s symptoms and medical history, perform the recommended tests, and determine the proper treatment. Both negligent providers and their employers (such as hospitals) can be held liable for the adverse effects of diagnostic errors.
Klein Lawyers can help. Our team has extensive experience with a wide range of complex legal matters. We can review your medical records and other evidence, consult experts in healthcare, fully calculate your damages, and identify all of your options for pursuing compensation.
Please call (604) 874-7171 today for a free case evaluation if you were injured in a hospital. Our misdiagnosis lawyers serve clients in Vancouver and all of British Columbia.