Every day, patients are injured because of medical malpractice. Some of these patients and their families wonder who will be held responsible for the damage that was done. Some people automatically think that the doctor who was treating the patient should be held liable for what happened, but this isn't always true.
In medical malpractice cases, there are several points to consider when an attorney is trying to determine who will be named as a defendant. This requires them to look carefully at the circumstances of the case.
Medications and risks
Medication use can involve considerable risk. That's why we have laws and regulations to protect the public and keep dangerous drugs away from patients.
If a drug manufacturer didn't adequately warn that the drug was unsafe for specific patients or that there were serious risks, that manufacturer may be held liable for injuries or death. If a prescribing doctor knew about these risks or if the risks were not clearly conveyed, the physician could be named a defendant in a lawsuit.
Defective or dangerous medical equipment
The use of medical equipment, including devices and implants, can also be risky. Doctors have a duty to inform patients about these risks, but this doesn't always happen.
When a lack of informed consent is the problem, the doctor may be liable. Medical equipment can also be defective or used improperly. In these cases, an attorney would need to determine what went wrong so they know which parties should be held liable.
When negligent nursing hurts patients
Nurses are responsible for a large portion of patient care, especially for hospital patients. When nurses don't monitor patients properly or don't report problems, patients can suffer as a result.
In some cases, the issue is improper medication dosing. Nursing negligence can cause serious injuries and death to patients.
When a hospital is at fault
When a hospital hires employees, it assumes much responsibility for the employees' actions. Hospital negligence can involve the concept of vicarious liability, referring to responsibility for an employee's negligence on the job.
Because the employee is representing the hospital, the hospital might be held liable for the actions of the employee. The rules, regulations and procedures of the hospital may also be questioned in these cases.
Every case is different
Medical malpractice cases can be extremely complicated. It is important to obtain legal advice if you suspect that negligence occurred.