Who Is Liable in Your Medical Malpractice Claim?
Ragain & Clark February 14, 2023
We place a great deal of trust in our healthcare professionals to provide the medical treatment we need. Unfortunately, mistakes happen or things can simply take an unexpected turn. While there are no guarantees when it comes to medical treatment, there are instances when these issues rise to the level of malpractice. The challenge in these situations is identifying who should be held accountable. If you believe there were mistakes made in your treatment, a medical malpractice lawyer can identify who is responsible and then help you get the compensation you deserve.
When something goes wrong with treatment, most people assume that the doctor is to blame. That is because the doctor is responsible for assessing our health, diagnosing our condition, and then recommending the best possible treatment. And before proceeding with treatment, they must obtain the patient’s informed consent, which requires a meaningful discussion of the potential risks, side effects, and potential alternatives to the recommended treatment.
When they fail to do any one of those things in conformance with the standard of care, they commit medical malpractice. As you might imagine, however, doctors and patients may disagree over whether the doctor was negligent in some way. Identifying medical malpractice is not easy, which is why you need to work with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.
The Healthcare Facility
Whether it is a hospital, urgent care center, or outpatient clinic, it is possible for mistakes to be made at the organizational level. Some examples of facility-level medical malpractice include the following:
- Unsanitary conditions or inadequate sterilization that leads to infection
- Inadequate employee screening, resulting in employees who are underqualified or who have problematic backgrounds and harm patients
- Broken or malfunctioning equipment that is unavailable when needed resulting in delays in treatment
- Inadequate safety protocols resulting in miscommunications and other errors
- Mismanagement of personnel and lack of supervision including not having enough staff to ensure quality care
- Inefficient administrative policies that result in delays in treatment, lack of proper documentation, and other issues
- Inadequate employee training
These issues are often well hidden, especially to the untrained eye. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to identify whether malpractice occurred at the facility level and then help you hold them accountable.
Doctors routinely rely on test results for the purposes of making a diagnosis and recommending a course of treatment. Lab errors can lead to a misdiagnosis or recommendation of the wrong treatment. Common lab errors that can result in medical malpractice include the following:
- Poor testing protocols resulting in false or inaccurate results
- Losing or misidentifying test results
- Delays in performing tests or communicating results
If you suffered harm as a result of a lab error, you may be able to hold the lab liable for your losses. A medical malpractice attorney will know what evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve.
Pharmacies are responsible for dispensing the correct medication in the correct dosage. Serious harm can occur when they give patients the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage. Pharmacies can be held liable for these errors, whether it is a national chain or a locally owned pharmacy. You should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately if you have suffered harm as a result of a pharmacy error.
While nurses do not have the same responsibilities as doctors, they do have a legal and ethical duty to provide the appropriate level of care to their patients. And while they are under the supervision of their doctors or the healthcare facility, they have a fair amount of autonomy. As a result, they can commit malpractice that results in harm to their patients. Many people do not realize, however, that nurses can be held liable for malpractice just like a physician.
You May Need to Pursue Multiple Parties
Your malpractice case may not be the result of a single person’s negligence – it may be the result of mistakes made at multiple levels. For example, a nurse may have administered the wrong medication to a patient because the wrong medication was provided by the hospital’s pharmacy. The nurse should have noticed that it was the wrong medication, but she was handling too many patients because the hospital is understaffed. In this scenario, a medical malpractice attorney would likely recommend that you pursue a claim against both the nurse and the hospital.
Are You the Victim of Medical Malpractice? Contact Ragain & Clark Today
With over 30 years of experience, we help medical malpractice victims in both Montana and Wyoming get the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. To discuss your case and how we can help, contact us today at 307-388-6400 (Worland) or 406-651-8888 (Billings) to schedule a free consultation.