When you are sick or injured, you put your trust and life in the hands of the doctors, nurses and other members of a hospital staff who are treating you. The sad truth is that sometimes medical malpractice or hospital negligence can result in further injuries, permanent disability or, even, death.
Hospitals are held to a certain standard of care. When they fail to meet that standard and a patient is injured as a result, the hospital can be held liable for medical malpractice. The same is true for nursing homes. Residents of nursing homes have the right to receive proper medical care and attention. If a resident was injured because a nursing home owner or employee was negligent, the resident can sue the nursing home for malpractice.
Nearly 100,000 deaths occur every year due to mistakes in hospitals or by healthcare workers. The problem is widespread, and the emotional toll it can take on victims exceptionally serious. The psychological effects of medical error affect more than just the patient, are all too often invisible and can tear families apart.
When something bad happens to you at the hospital and you are injured as a result, the first thing you may think about is medical malpractice. And in many cases, you would be right to do so. Obvious errors, like a surgeon leaving a clamp inside of you, or a pharmacist accidentally swapping your prescription for someone else's, or a doctor diagnosing you with indigestion when you have an ulcer, these are clear examples of medical malpractice.
Hospitals are legally required to make sure their staff, including nurses, are educated and qualified to perform their duties. Besides their legal obligation to vet their staff before hiring them, hospitals have financial reasons to make sure their doctors and nurses can perform their job. After all, a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional could lead to the hospital being liable for damages. Yet, in hospitals all across the nation, including South Carolina, the role of nurses in these sorts of cases is becoming more evident.
Hospitals can be imposing places. Even a community hospital in a medium-sized or small town can be a multi-story building with several doctors and surgeons accompanied by a multitude of staff and carrying the latest in medical technology. None of these personnel or their equipment are cheap, for you or for the hospital; all of this speaks to the financial resources that are available to the hospital, and those resources include having not just one but typically several attorneys available to represent it.
Some medical devices used by hospitals and doctors throughout South Carolina for such common diagnostic procedures as endoscopies have come under the regulatory microscope of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA reports that following the procedures provided by the instruments' manufacturers may not be enough to keep patients safe from injuries caused by infections.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert concerning the use and cleaning of endoscopes in hospitals. The alert follows the deaths of two people who contracted a deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, "Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae bacteria.
One aspect of South Carolina business law that can be overlooked is the concept of legal "personhood" for an organization - in several key ways, a business such as a corporation can have the same rights and duties under the law as a human being. But if you suffer an injury while in the care of a health care institution the legal entity status of that institution can have a direct impact on your ability to be compensated for your injury.
Medical malpractice and hospital negligence cases can be tragic even when one only victim and his or her loved ones are affected by the error. Rarely does a case of possible medical malpractice that happens in South Carolina or another state have the potential to affect the entire country or even beyond the U.S. borders. But this potential unfortunately now does exist due to an error made in a U.S. hospital.