Have you ever wondered who could be sued in a Medical Malpractice lawsuit? Well the legal concept is not limited to just doctors but nurses, anesthesiologists, health care facilities; pharmaceutical companies among others that provide healthcare services are also open for lawsuits. Let us look at hospitals for example. Hospitals are corporations that are either private or public entities and in the context of medical malpractice, actions and can be held directly liable for their own negligence as well as vicariously liable for negligence of their employees. Vicarious liability means a party is held liable for not its own negligence but for the negligence of another. A hospitals medical staff consists of licensed doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners. When hiring medical staff a hospital they must make reasonable inquiries into the applicant’s education, training and licensing. If by chance, they fail to make reasonable inquiries regarding a member of its medical staff and that staff member causes an injury to a patient, the hospital could be held liable under the “corporate negligence” doctrine for negligent supervision or retention. If for example, a hospital fails to investigate the credentials of an attending physician before granting them hospital privileges or allows a physician whom it knew or should have known to be incompetent to treat patients the hospital might be held liable for its own negligence. Another way a hospital may be held liable is not having a sufficient number of nursing staff on duty that is required at all times to maintain quality patient care therefore possibly causing injuries to patients resulting from a nursing shortage. In addition, another potential liability can arise when a hospital employee fails to follow orders of the attending physician and the patient suffers an injury because of it. If a hospital employee finds a private physician’s treatment plan to be clearly contraindicated but fails to make a reasonable inquiry of that physician as to that treatment plan, then the hospital can also be held liable. Finally, hospitals can be held liable for failing to protect patients from harm, adequately perform clinical tests, keep accurate medical records as well as properly admit and discharge patients. When a patient is admitted hospitals are required to treat seriously injured or ill patients on an emergency basis and the refusal to do so may result in hospital liability. Federal and state statutes prohibit hospitals from refusing to treat or admit people based on their race, color, religion or national origin or their inability to pay for treatment.When an employee’s malpractice injures a patient the hospital can be held vicarious liable under the legal doctrine of “respondeat superior” which under this doctrine an employer can be held liable for the negligent behavior of its employee if that employee was acting within the scope of their employment when the negligent act occurred. This doctrine is very important to plaintiffs as it helps ensure there will be a financially responsible party to compensate the injured party. In some situations, physicians are considered independent contractors rather than hospital employees and this doctrine will not apply. The hospital cannot be held liable for this reason alone but can be held liable because it granted privileges to an unlicensed or incompetent physician. Also in certain situations, a hospital can be vicariously liable or directly liable for the acts or omissions of contractors it retains to operate its emergency rooms and outpatient facilities.If you have a potential malpractice suit against a physician, hospital staff member or the hospital itself, you need to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to find out your rights. Do not guess; make sure you get the facts before making the decision to proceed.