In many medical malpractice cases that arise out of negligent care received in a hospital, the plaintiff will not only assert claims against the doctor who provided the treatment in question but will also seek damages from the hospital. Whether a hospital will be found vicariously liable for the acts of a physician depends, in part, on whether the doctor was an employee of the hospital. As discussed in a recent New York opinion, there is an exception, however, that will allow a hospital to be held vicariously liable despite a doctor’s employment status at the time the harm occurred. If you were hurt because of incompetent care in an emergency room, it is advisable to speak to a seasoned Syracuse emergency room malpractice lawyer to evaluate your possible claims.
The Decedent’s Care
It is reported that the decedent was taken by ambulance to the emergency department of the defendant hospital due to complaints of nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. He was admitted, and shortly thereafter, the defendant surgeon performed an emergency procedure on the decedent. The decedent died the following day. The plaintiff, the decedent’s wife, filed a lawsuit against the defendants asserting wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. After the parties completed discovery, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of whether the defendant hospital was vicariously liable for the acts of the defendant surgeon. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.
A Hospital’s Vicarious Liability for Harm Caused by a Doctor
Generally, pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior, a hospital may be found vicariously liable for the malpractice or negligence of employees that are acting within the scope of their employment, but not for the malpractice or negligence of a physician working independently, such as when the patient retains the physician by his or her self. Continue reading