When one talks about medical malpractice, what almost immediately comes to mind is the notion that it only applies to typical land-based hospitals. However, what if such a case happens in a cruise ship’s ER?
Back in the day, patients who believed that they’d been denied the right to urgent, top-quality medical care while on a cruise basically couldn’t sue those who were responsible. By virtue of an old ruling from 1988, cruise lines were immune to lawsuits and the only party that could be sued was the specific medical provider serving aboard the vessel.
Also known as the “Barbetta Doctrine,” the ruling also made it impossible for the family of the late war veteran Pasquale Vaglio to win their lawsuit against Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The 82-year-old Vaglio was the ill-fated victim of apparent medical negligence aboard the cruise. While the ship was docked, Vaglio accidentally hit his head after a fall. He was taken immediately to the ship’s on-board hospital, but the staff insisted that he simply rest in his cabin—not knowing that the patient had already suffered a brain injury, which led to his demise. Due to the dreaded Barbetta Doctrine, however, the case was dismissed.
Things have changed since then. The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals has voted to permanently abolish the Barbetta Doctrine. In other words, families can now call upon a skilled NYC medical malpractice attorney from firms like the Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein to sue cruise ships directly for medical malpractice, and claim rightful compensation for the losses.
The judges that form the 11th Circuit dismissed Barbetta as an obsolete law on several grounds. After reviewing the Vaglio case, they noted that the medical staff on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship were technically considered employees of the vessel, and that the medical services on-board the ship were outwardly advertised on promotional materials—claiming that they can find no sound reason that the cruise line be immune from legal liability. The decision was made after a carefful cross-examination of maritime law principles with medical malpractice, personal injury, and agency law.
That being said, one can now expect cruise lines to be safer for all passengers now that cruise lines may face huge legal disputes if they air on the side of medical negligence. Best of all, experienced NYC medical malpractice lawyers are at hand to make the responsible parties liable.
(Source: Patients Can now Sue Cruise Lines for Medical Malpractice, ClinicalAdvisor.com)