Legal Responsibility

Doctors aren’t the only parties responsible for medical malpractice. Nurses, dentists, and facilities like clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals, as well as any other professional or organization providing health care services, are responsible for avoiding malpractice.

Hospitals are a special case, given the size and complexity of these organizations. Hospitals can be directly liable for their own negligence, but they can also be “vicariously” liable for actions taken by hospital employees.

Hospitals are required to prevent negligence from the earliest contact with its employees. If hospitals fail to complete background checks or investigate licensing for an employee, then they can be held liable for corporate negligence.

Hospitals are required not just to maintain quality but also quantity of care. They can be held liable if they staff an insufficient number of nurses. They can also be held liable when hospital employees do not follow the instructions of the employee’s physician, but when a physician’s orders are clearly wrong the hospital is responsible to investigate and find the correct course of action. Hospitals are responsible to protect their patients, give them proper medical care, and administer their cases correctly. Hospitals are required to treat patients on an emergency basis. They are also required to admit patients without considering their income, race, or religion.

Contact a Iowa medical malpractice lawyer representing clients in Sioux City, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.

When a patient is injured by a hospital employee, the hospital can be held legally responsible. Under this legal doctrine, “respondeat superior”, employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees if the employee was acting within the scope of their employment when the negligence occurred. This can be very important to malpractice plaintiffs. Hospitals cannot be held responsible in cases where physicians or other professionals are acting as independent contractors. They can, however, be held liable for granting privileges to an incompetent or unlicensed physician.

In some situations, the actions of contractors can create vicarious liability for hospitals. Teaching hospitals may employ physicians who are technically state employees and therefore enjoy sovereign immunity. This places limits on liability and puts time limits on filing a lawsuit.

Pharmaceutical companies can be held liable in instances when a patient is harmed and the manufacturer fails to warn physicians of the drug’s potential hazards. Manufacturers are legally primarily responsible to physicians and not patients. Therefore, manufacturers are not responsible for patient injury if they have adequately informed the physician of any dangers. They are responsible for producing a reasonably safe product. As a “learned intermediary”, however, your physician is considered in the best position to decide whether a particular medication is right for your situation and advise you on risks. If you or a loved one has suffered from negligence or malpractice, you should consult an attorney with malpractice experience.


If you would like to schedule a initial consultation contact an Iowa medical negligence attorney, representing clients in Sioux City, Iowa at the Kutmus, Pennington & Hook, P.C. Office Give us a call at (515) 288-3339 or complete our inquiry form.

Monday, March 18, 2019

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