Chicago Negligence Lawyer
Institutional negligence occurs when a hospital, nursing home, “surgicenter” or other health care facility violates its independent duty to act reasonably in providing care to patients, and in supervising the provision of that care in the facility, resulting in injury to a patient. Over forty years ago the Illinois Supreme Court recognized that a hospital has a duty to use reasonable care in the administration and management of the institution. Courts in other states have followed suit and held hospitals around the United States to the same standard.
Following are several examples of ways that hospitals and health care facilities can violate their duty to patients and be institutionally negligent:
Negligent credentialing: when the hospital, nursing home or health care facility fails to use reasonable care in granting staff privileges to a physician, podiatrist or other health care provider, and the physician or podiatrist subsequently commits malpractice, resulting in injury. Health care institutions have a duty to determine the competence of physicians, podiatrists, dentists and other health care providers before granting staff privileges, and the credentials to perform specific procedures, to those individuals.
Negligent supervision: when a hospital, nursing home or health care facility, through its management personnel, fails to supervise the activities of employees and independent contractors at the facility. This type of negligence occurs, for example:
when the hospital governing board allows physicians at the hospital to perform unnecessary surgeries on patients as part of a scheme to defraud health insurers or government agencies.
Failure of hospital staff to inform a patient’s physician, or a supervisor, of a change in condition: Hospital employees—namely nurses—have a duty to monitor a patient’s condition, and to promptly report any changes in the patient’s condition to a physician. In addition, hospital nurses also must “go up the chain-of-command” and report to a supervisor if they observe a physician fail to provide quality care to a patient, or if a physician fails to respond to a nurse’s report of a change in a patient’s condition. If hospital nurses or other staff members fail to properly communicate with physicians, or report improper patient care to a supervisor, and the patient is injured as a result, the hospital may be directly liable as an institution for negligence.