When you go to the hospital, you expect that you will receive competent care and treatment in a safe, clean environment. However, all too often, patients suffer serious harm in hospitals due to poor conditions, medical errors and other forms of negligence. According to the Indiana State Department of Health, hospitals, clinics, birthing centers and ambulatory surgery centers in the state reported 127 adverse events in 2016 – the most reported since the state initiated its medical error reporting system in 2006.
Our Avon Hospital Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered harm in a hospital in Avon, the experienced hospital malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson is here for you. We have more than 15 years of legal experience, a highly dedicated staff and a commitment to providing the highest level of service to injured patients and their families. We will give your case a thorough review and provide you with an honest evaluation of the options available to you.
Talk to us today. You can call or reach us online. We will discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation.
What Are Common Types of Hospital Malpractice?
Many people in hospitals play a role in the quality of care that patients receive. They include licensed medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, radiologists and pharmacists. They also include staff members such as secretaries, orderlies, custodians and cafeteria workers. If any of these individuals fails to live up to the duty that they owe to the patients that the hospital serves, they can cause serious harm.
Some of the common types of hospital malpractice that occur are:
- Emergency room errors – Patients can suffer harm if the ER staff makes them wait for an unreasonably long time before they see them, fail to order proper tests, misdiagnose their condition or fail to communicate vital information during the patient’s handoff.
- Diagnostic errors – These errors often occur due to a medical team’s failure to order, interpret or communicate results. Some diagnostic errors happen because a doctor fails to thoroughly review a patient’s medical history. The misdiagnosis can prevent timely treatment, allowing a disease such as cancer to spread.
- Surgical errors – Breakdowns in communication can lead to doctors performing surgery on the wrong body part or performing a procedure on the wrong patient. Serious injuries can also occur due to the mishandling of instruments during the surgery.
- Retained surgical items – A hospital’s failure to adopt or enforce a tracking system for items that surgical teams use during an operation can lead to objects such as sponges, clips and other items being left in a patient.
- Medication errors – Patients may become seriously ill or die if they receive the wrong dosage or wrong type of medication. A hospital should have a procedure in place that prevents these errors.
- Anesthesia errors – These mistakes can be deadly. They may involve the wrong type or dose of anesthesia or a failure to determine whether the anesthesia will adversely interact with food or medication that a patient has consumed.
- Birth injuries – These injuries often occur when doctors, nurses or midwives fail to properly respond to complications that arise during a woman’s pregnancy or during labor and delivery. Sadly, the mother and child may not survive the error, or they may suffer permanent harm.
In some cases, a person may suffer injury or illness inside of a hospital due to ordinary negligence rather than professional malpractice. For example, a patient may develop an infection due to a medical assistant’s failure to wash his or hands or because they are exposed to improperly sterilized equipment.
When Is a Hospital Liable for Employees’ Negligence?
As a general rule, hospitals and clinics may be held legally responsible for the negligence of their employees. Nurses, lab technicians, medical assistants and case managers typically are employees of a hospital. If one of these employees harms a patient through their negligent actions – or due to their failure to act – the hospital could possibly be liable. For instance, a nurse may administer the wrong type of medication to a patient, or an assistant may make a mistake when checking a patient’s vital signs.
If a hospital employs a doctor, the hospital may be liable for the doctor’s negligence as well. However, if the doctor is an “independent contractor” instead of an employee, the hospital may try to avoid liability. It will depend on the specific facts of the case. Under some circumstances, a hospital may still be liable even if an independent contractor harmed a patient.
It is important to work with a lawyer who knows how to carefully investigate and analyze these cases and will identify all parties who should be held accountable for the injury or illness that you or your loved one has suffered.
When Is a Hospital Liable for Its Own Negligence?
In addition to being responsible for the negligence of its employees, a hospital may be liable for its own negligence. For instance, many patients suffer harm because a hospital failed to:
- Conduct a background check before hiring an employee
- Adequately train and supervise an employee
- Adopt proper policies and procedures
- Enforce its own policies and procedures
- Keep the facility in clean, safe condition.
Indeed, as the Indiana State Department of Health notes in its 2016 Indiana Medical Error Report, “Medical errors generally are not the sole result of actions of individuals but rather the failures of the systems and processes used in providing healthcare.”
Contact Our Avon Hospital Malpractice Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of injured patients and their families in Avon and surrounding areas. We know how important it is for victims and their loved ones to get answers about what went wrong in their care and treatment and to recover compensation for the serious physical, emotional and financial harm they have suffered.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by hospital malpractice in Avon, we can provide a free consultation of your case and begin work immediately on evaluating your claim. Contact us today to learn more.