When a person is injured while under the care of the healthcare staff of a hospital, it is possible to sue for negligence or medical malpractice. This does not only apply to patients, but to the members of the health team as well. This was the case with the nurse who was the first to contract Ebola in the United States. She recently filed a suit against a hospital where she worked because, according to the NY Times article, “[…] it [the hospital] knowingly left workers without the training or equipment needed to handle the disease.” If you believe that you have a case against a hospital or healthcare institution, then a medical malpractice lawyer in Long Island can help you out.
The typical hospital staff are nurses, paramedics, and medical technicians. When it comes to the doctors, this would depend because some doctors are employees of the hospital while some are not. If any of the hospital staff has injured a patient while carrying out a task or procedure, then the patient could sue the hospital. Again with doctors, they can only be sued if they are an employee of the hospital.
Most doctors are independent practitioners and there are some factors that would suggest that a doctor is an employee: (1) if the doctor’s working hours and vacation time are controlled by the institution, or (2) if the doctor’s fees are set by the hospital. There are even cases wherein the patient was made to believe that the doctor was an employee of the hospital—and such misleading of the patient can be a ground for the latter to sue the hospital for malpractice.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. Independent doctors who are given staff privileges of the hospital can make it possible to sue the medical establishment. Furthermore, the hospital should also know if a certain staff member has become incompetent or presents a risk to patients, for example if they become addicted to drugs or displays signs of emotional or psychological instability.
Suing hospitals is a complex process that involves a lot of rules and conditions. This is why those who have been wronged by a healthcare or medical center should seek the guidance of medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island such as those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein who has been dealing with medical malpractice cases for 25 years and counting.
Nurse Who Contracted Ebola in the U.S. Sues Her Hospital Employer, The New York Times, March 2, 2015
Medical Malpractice: When Can Patients Sue a Hospital for Negligence?, NOLO