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Doctor & Hospital Malpractice

Most catastrophic injuries or deaths in medical malpractice or negligence cases occur in hospitals, and when due to provable negligence, most such cases usually involve multiple doctors and nurses who share the fault. Most nurses are employees of the hospital (although there are many exceptions to this rule) but almost all doctors are not employees of the hospital, thus the hospital is not legally liable for any negligence of the doctors. Patients routinely sign a “Conditions of Admission” form when they enter a hospital, and these documents clearly state that the doctors, including radiologists, emergency room physicians, and others, are “Independent Contractors,” and not hospital employees. This requires that all doctors who are involved in the care of a patient in a hospital who suffers a significant injury or death be named as defendants, along with the hospital.

While there are many circumstances, especially communication errors or other hospital system errors, that can result in a significant injury or death of a patient, proving the connections between negligent care and the outcome of a significant injury or death can be more difficult. Except for most admissions for childbirth or cosmetic surgery, the vast majority of patients admitted to hospitals have significant pre-existing medical problems where the outcome caused by negligence may be difficult to separate from the natural outcome of the underlying medical or disease process. Thus, many relatively clear circumstances of negligence in hospitals can still be defended where the pre-existing or underlying medical problem is itself significant. Where the patient is otherwise young and healthy upon admission to the hospital, a serious injury or death is far more likely to be due to negligence of the hospital staff, including doctors and nurses.

Did your incident arise from medical malpractice at a Kaiser hospital? For more information about claims from this hospital, please visit our Kaiser medical malpractice website.

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