There’s one place you’ll probably visit at least once in your lifetime. The hospital! Whether it’s for an illness, a couple of stitches, or just to be born, we go to hospitals hoping that the professionals inside will take good care of us. Providing that “good care” is often the responsibility of more than one person. Nurses, doctors, assistants, surgeons…the list goes on. When something goes wrong during treatment, it may be hard to pinpoint who’s to blame. Multiple people on medical staff could be responsible for the mistake. So who can be sued for malpractice?
In this article, we’ll seek to answer this complex question for you. If you have specific questions about your personal malpractice case, we’re available 24/7 by phone. Call 713.489.0993 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer now.
A General List Of Who Can Be Sued For Malpractice
Let’s take a quick look at who can be sued for malpractice:
- Physical therapists
- Speech therapists
- Other medical professionals
In general, any medical professional who was negligent is fair game for a malpractice suit. This is true as long as they breach the “standard of care”. This means that they did something a reasonable professional would not do, under those specific circumstances.
Also, the professional’s mistake must harm the patient in some way. If the mistake didn’t cause pain, an injury, distress, or expenses, it probably won’t qualify as malpractice. There’s one more caveat. You can only sue for malpractice if the incident didn’t happen too long ago. Who gets to define how long is “too long”? That’s up to each US state. For example, in Texas, the limit in most cases is two years. So if you live in the Lone Star State, you generally can’t file a lawsuit any later than two years after the negligent act occurred. In legalese, this limit is called the “statute of limitations”.
Can You Sue Pharmaceutical Companies?
Yes, it’s also possible to sue pharmaceutical companies for malpractice. Take for example the case of Dennis Quaid’s twin babies. Quaid and his wife brought their twins to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for an infection. Nurses gave them 1,000 times the right dosage of heparin, a blood-thinning drug.
At first glance, you’d say, “Wow, those are some negligent nurses.” Yes, those RNs did make a terrible mistake. And the hospital fired them for it. Luckily, other staff members jumped to action and corrected the overdose. The Quaid twins recovered.
But it may surprise you to learn that the Quaid family didn’t go after the nurses with a lawsuit. Instead, they sued Baxter Healthcare Corp. That was the company that made the drug that almost took their twin’s lives.
In the lawsuit, the Quaids fault Baxter for making the heparin bottles confusing. You see, it wasn’t the first time that nurses had overdosed patients with heparin. The low dose and high dose bottles looked almost the same. Other infants had already died in other hospitals because nurses confused the jars. The Quaids alleged that Baxter knew this, yet chose to do nothing.
What About Medical Device Manufacturers?
Let’s say a surgeon fits a patient with a metal hip replacement. Later, the patient comes down with metal poisoning. Who can be sued for malpractice? The surgeon? Or the manufacturer of the metal device?
In this case, it’s obvious that the surgeon isn’t to blame. The surgeon did their job, and did it well. The infection came from the device, and had nothing to do with the surgery to implant it.
So the patient might file a suit against the manufacturer. If the manufacturer knew their product was faulty and kept it on the market anyway, that’s a recipe for bigtime payouts. Often, suits against device manufacturers lead to million-dollar rewards for victims.
Here are some examples of medical device manufacturers that have been involved in lawsuits:
- Bayer and Conceptus Inc.: This company’s Essure birth control device caused damage to the uterus and fallopian tubes of hundreds of women.
- Stryker: Various Stryker hip implants have been the subject of numerous lawsuits. Many models have been recalled.
- St. Jude: St. Jude Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices had issues with battery failure.
- Johnson & Johnson: Courts have ordered this maker of pelvic mesh to pay over 300 million dollars in damages for deception in their product advertisements.
- 3M: This company is currently in litigation over their surgical warming blankets. This product, known as the Bair Hugger, has caused serious infections.
Can You Sue Hospitals For Malpractice?
The short answer is yes. Hospitals and other medical institutions may also be responsible for mistakes. This is because employers are liable for their employer’s actions. If someone on staff injured a patient while performing job-related duties, the hospital may be held responsible.
Patients can bring claims against both public and private hospitals. But many states put on a cap on the amount of damages hospitals must pay.
When you’re injured after a hospital visit, one of your first questions may be, “who can be sued for malpractice in my case?” It may not be easy to dig up the answer. You likely had a whole team of people treating you. The truth might be a challenge to unearth.
That’s why you’ll need a bigger shovel! And by that, we mean a team of malpractice law experts who can help you get to the bottom of what happened to you.
Sometimes you can sue both the hospital and the doctor or nurse who treated you. You might even have a claim against several medical professionals. It’s important to hold everyone who made a mistake accountable. This can help prevent them from harming more patients.
Why Should I Sue For Malpractice?
On the other hand, the who can be sued for malpractice may not be as important as the why. Why should you sue for malpractice? Is it worth the effort and money?
Let us put your mind at ease with this: damages from a malpractice suit can help you get your life back on track. You likely have a mountain of unexpected hospital bills to pay off. A new injury to deal with. Medical equipment, medicine, or full-time carers to help you with daily tasks. Not to mention the pain, anguish, and emotional distress!
You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes. So even if you liked the doctor who treated you, or you don’t want that kind nurse to get fired, look into filing a claim. You only have a short window to file. If you don’t take action now, you may regret it later.
Finally, here’s one more reason to sue for malpractice. You can do it without risking your savings! How? By hiring a medical malpractice lawyer who doesn’t charge unless you win.
Still wondering who can be sued for malpractice for your injury? Contact Hampton & King by message or phone and schedule a free initial consultation. Our experts are ready to answer your questions, and help you get the compensation you deserve.