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Hospital and Nurse Negligence

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Assisting Ocala Residents

Most people think of physician negligence when they think of medical malpractice. However, many people are injured by the negligence of hospitals or their nursing staff. Hospital and nurse negligence may have results that are just as severe or deadly as physician malpractice, necessitating prolonged medical treatment, a longer hospital stay, or readmission to the hospital. Often, the only recourse that you may have after hospital or nurse negligence is to file a claim or lawsuit for damages. At the Dean Law Firm, our Ocala medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help you obtain compensation.

Taking Legal Action After Hospital or Nurse Negligence

A hospital may be found responsible for its own negligence, and it may also be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior is a form of indirect liability, whereby an employer is held responsible for the negligence of its employees. For example, if a doctor is employed by a hospital, rather than working as an independent contractor, the hospital may be liable under respondeat superior for errors by the doctor that amount to medical malpractice.

There are numerous errors that a hospital may itself make for which it might be held directly liable if the errors result in harm. These errors include understaffing or negligent hiring, patient identification mistakes, infections, communication mistakes, and other procedural errors. For example, hospitals are required to make sure that there are enough registered nurses, who are qualified to do their job, working at the hospital at all times. If patients suffer injuries due to a nursing shortage, a hospital may be held directly liable.

Or, in another example, a pregnant woman visiting a hospital for a routine visit who complains of severe abdominal pain but is forced to wait for an hour and a half, resulting in an emergency C-section and a baby born with brain injuries, may have grounds to sue for negligence. In that situation, a reasonably prudent nurse would likely recognize signs of fetal distress and make sure that the patient saw a physician in a timely fashion. The nurse may be held directly liable, while the hospital may be held vicariously liable for the nurse's negligence. If it turns out that the nurse is not qualified to provide care, and the hospital should have inquired further into some aspect of her background before hiring her, the hospital might be held responsible under a theory of negligent hiring.

To establish a medical malpractice claim, you will need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the hospital or the nurse owed you a duty of reasonable care, the hospital or the nurse breached this duty, and you suffered an injury as a result of the breach.

Generally, the element of duty is straightforward to establish. Once a hospital or nurse undertakes a duty to care for you, they are supposed to provide competent care to the appropriate standards. The standard of care in nursing may be defined by nursing practicing standards found in the Florida Nurse Practice Act, standards of the American Nursing Association, case law, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and other sources. The standard of care is specific to each type of nursing practice. For example, oncologist nurses set the standard of care for other oncologist nurses.

If you can establish a hospital or nursing negligence claim, you may be able to recover damages. These will likely include medical expenses arising from the harm that you suffered due to the negligent acts or omissions, as well as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of income.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in the Ocala Area

When you go to the hospital, you assume that you will be properly treated by the nurses and staff. At the Dean Law Firm, our Ocala medical malpractice attorneys provide aggressive legal representation to patients who have been hurt because of hospital and nurse negligence. We also handle wrongful death claims on behalf of families who have lost a loved one due to the carelessness of hospitals and nurses. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with a misdiagnosis lawyer or assistance with another medical malpractice claim. We represent injured people in Ocala, Crystal River, The Villages, and other areas of Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.