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Attorney Renee C. Walsh

Medical Malpractice – Which Entities to Sue

All of them. Everyone who was involved should get a timely notice of intent to sue. The main purpose of this item is to inform the public about the way hospitals are set up, which is a topic of which I had no knowledge prior to practicing as a medical malpractice defense attorney. Prior to that time, I had no knowledge whatsoever that the emergency departments, radiology departments, anesthesia departments, and various other departments are NOT employed by the hospital. More specifically, the ER Dr. treating you when you walk in the emergency room is probably not an employee of the hospital, but rather is employed by a group of physicians formed into a corporation, which has an independent contractor contract with the hospital to manage the emergency department in such a way as to provide competent, timely, and otherwise professional medical service. The same is true of the anesthesia and radiology departments. In defending the hospitals and its employees, we routinely asked the patient plaintiff a line of questioning aimed at discovering their knowledge of the fact that the physician/employee was not an employee of the hospital. Unless they are nurses, (and actually some nurses are “contract” nurses too (they are provided by a staffing agency)), odds are that they are not an employee of the hospital. Hospitals do not advertise this because they want you to think that they are providing the service unless of course, they commit malpractice.

So, make sure when you find out about the fact that there probably is another company in the mix, they are included in the lawsuit to reach any additional insurance coverage available to pay the claim. And, don’t make any assumptions about the service you are being provided, including whether the professional treating you is actually a physician, but that is another item for discussion about physician’s assistants, nurse anesthetists, and the like … .

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