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Hospital Negligence

February 1, 2020  ·  By HM&M


Institutional negligence occurs when a hospital, nursing home, “surgicenter” or other health care facility violates its independent duty to supervise and ensure that care is safely provided in its facility, resulting in injury to a patient. That is why as the victim of hospital or institution negligence, you need an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney to represent your needs.

Over forty years ago, the Illinois Supreme Court recognized that a hospital has a duty to act in a reasonably careful manner 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 a hospital, nursing home or health care facility fails to be reasonably careful in granting staff privileges to a physician, podiatrist or other health care provider who subsequently commits malpractice that results in injury. Health care institutions must ensure that their staff members and physicians are adequately educated, trained, and experienced before granting privileges to perform procedures.

Negligent supervision: when a hospital, nursing home or health care facility fails to adequately supervise the medical providers 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.
  • When hospital or nursing home management personnel fail to supervise the activities of employees such as orderlies or nurses, which results in physical injury to, or physical or sexual assault of, a patient.
  • When the management of a hospital or “surgicenter” fails to take action against a physician, podiatrist, dentist or other health care provider who repeatedly injures patients or performs procedures exceeding the provider’s training, experience or credentials, and that provider subsequently causes an injury due to malpractice at the facility.

Failure to institute adequate policies and procedures: when the hospital fails to establish and enforce adequate written rules governing how physicians and nurses should care for patients. For example, a hospital is negligent where it fails to have an adequate policy that outlines when and how physicians are required to consult with other physicians and specialists.

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.

Failure to maintain adequate facilities: when the hospital fails to take adequate precautions to reduce injuries due to faulty or defective medical equipment, or fails to have available adequate and up-to-date equipment to care for its patients.

If you think you or your loved one has been the victim of institutional negligence, the first thing you should do is contact the experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at HM&M. At HM&M, our attorneys work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to help you get answers and determine your rights.

For a free consultation, contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. today at 312-553-4900 or fill out our online form to have a lawyer contact you.

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