Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Heavy Duty - October 2016 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 39 of 126

Yes, Patients Can Directly Sue Your Facility Under corporate negligence, you owe patients these 4 distinct duties. W hen you think of malpractice, you likely think of a patient suing you for the actions of your physi- cians or staff, but patients can also directly sue your hospital or surgical center under a doctrine called cor- porate negligence. One of the seminal cases on this topic is a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case, Thompson v. Nason Hospital (osmag.net/V4JBpk). Before this case, courts typically found hospitals immune from malpractice suits. But in this case, the court laid out 4 distinct duties that a healthcare facility owes its patients. Generally speaking, if a plaintiff can prove that the hospital breached any of these duties, the hospital can be held directly liable to the plaintiff in addition to also potentially being held vicariously liable for the actions of its doctors, nurses or other staff. Maintain a safe and adequate facility The first duty highlighted in the Thompson case requires hospitals to "use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment." This may seem like an obvious responsibility, but when you consider the expansive infrastructure of many larger institutions, it can become overwhelming. Consider this: An elderly, fall-risk patient is in a room equipped with bed alarms and other measures to ensure he does- 1 4 0 • O U T PA T I E N T S U R G E R Y M A G A Z I N E • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 Medical Malpractice Christian W. Francis, JD, and Amy Redington Riley, JD • CORPORATE LIABILITY When it comes to malpractice, facility liability starts and stops with your policies and procedures.

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