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Is this the same as medical malpractice?

Death of a family member can be a traumatic event in one’s life. It’s even more traumatic to know that such an event has occurred due to the negligence of the people who you consider as life saviors—the hospital staff.

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, anesthesia errors, wrong medication, and surgery errors can jeopardize patients’ lives and result in death. Most of these cases are examples of medical malpractice with greed for money as an underlying motive. But there are other reasons that give rise to such situations.

If you have been a victim of such grave negligence, there are ways to prove negligence and malpractice on the part of medical practitioners and hospitals. Here’s all you need to know about filing a lawsuit in such situations:

When is the hospital held liable for wrongful death?

The two most common reasons why a hospital is held liable for a patient’s death are as follows:

  •      On account of negligence on the part of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers on the hospital premises.
  •      The negligence of the hospital itself in recruiting and training employees, maintaining equipment, and overseeing critical processes in the hospital.

Negligence of doctors

Doctors employed by the hospital in which the patient was admitted can be negligent of their duties in the following ways:

  •      Wrong diagnosis of potentially fatal diseases
  •      Negligence during pregnancy and childbirth
  •      Administering wrong medication
  •      Committing errors during surgery

Negligence of hospital staff

Nurses and healthcare providers employed by the hospital can also commit errors as doctors can. Some nursing errors like the ones below can lead to a patient’s death and make the hospital liable for it:

  •      Failure to observe a patient’s important signs
  •      Wrong entry of patient’s nursing records in the chart
  •      Administering medications out of the prescription or at the wrong time
  •      Failure to identify certain critical signs and bring them to the notice of the doctor in charge
  •      Failure to identify bed sores on a patient

Who can file the lawsuit?

It is the deceased plaintiff’s closest surviving relative, such as parent, spouse or child who can file the wrongful death lawsuit. Unless the doctor or hospital staff is an independent contractor, the hospital may or may not be held liable. If the doctor alone has enough malpractice coverage, then the hospital may not be sued. It is only when your wrongful death lawyer  trusts finds negligence on the part of the hospital along with the doctors’ or nurses’ malpractice that the hospital will be sued.

What types of damages are covered?

The aspects covered in a wrongful death lawsuit differ from state to state, but may typically include the following:

  •      Customary damages like lost employment benefits, lost earnings, and medical bills.
  •      Burial and funeral expenses for the deceased.
  •      Loss of consortium and loss of guidance and nurture (for deceased children).