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Medical negligence: who can be held responsible?

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Residents of Virginia who have witnessed or been a party to medical malpractice cases may know that not only might medical doctors be held responsible, but the hospital and other medical professionals may also be held liable Hospitals and other medical facilities can either be held responsible directly for their actions or indirectly for any instance of medical negligence.

Hospital staffs are made up of licensed medical practitioners and other trained personnel, such as nurses and nursing assistants. It is the responsibility of a hospital to verify the credentials of such people before they are hired. If a hospital fails to make proper inquiries regarding any medical staff member, that hospital can be held liable if any negligence on the part of such professionals has caused injury to a patient. Hospitals can also be held responsible if they have failed to investigate the credentials of a doctor before awarding certain privileges to that person at the hospital. Similarly, if a medical practitioner, known for being incompetent, is allowed to treat patients at a hospital, the hospital can be held responsible for supporting the medical negligence.

Hospitals must also ensure that there are enough trained nurses on duty at all times to cater to patients' needs. Injuries that are sustained due to a shortage of trained nurses may also make the hospital liable for medical negligence. Hospitals may also be held liable if they fail to maintain proper medical records for each patient, perform tests with due care, and protect the patients from any harm.

Recovering from medical harm can be difficult, fraught with emotions and financial loss. Making matters worse, the legal process might be confusing. In an attempt to recover compensation, medical malpractice victims may thus want to consult a legal professional.

Source: FindLaw, "Responsible Parties in Birth Injury Cases: Who Can Be Sued?" Accessed on Aug 20, 2015

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