Medical Malpractice, Did The Hospital Breach Its Duty?
One branch of medical malpractice targets hospitals and other medical facilities for breaching the standard of care. Hospitals and other medical facilities have obligations to patients that are different than those owed by physicians. These include, at a minimum, to “provide procedures, policies, facilities, supplies, and qualified personnel reasonably necessary for the treatment of its patients” (See California Jury Instructions, CACI 514, “Duty of Hospitals”). If a patient sustains an injury because of the hospital’s failure to meet these obligations, it can give rise to a medical malpractice claim.
This type of medical malpractice claim came to mind recently when reading an article in The Press-Enterprise about a group of Loma Linda VA employees that filed a complaint claiming that the hospital was concealing and otherwise not acting properly regarding an outbreak of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease. Some of the doctors and nurses appear to be concerned about how effective the hospital, officially known as the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, has remediated a known outbreak of this bacteria and how forthcoming officials have been with patients and staff.
While the claim filed by those employees will hopefully lead to some thorough evaluation and oversight of the conduct and practices of the hospital, it would do nothing to help any patients or staff members that may contract the bacteria, which can sometimes be fatal. Diagnosing the disease may involve multiple tests, including blood tests, a chest x-ray, tissue or other tests, a CT scan of your brain, and/or a spinal tap (a.k.a. lumbar puncture), and treatment may involve antibiotics and hospitalization, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It might be very important to file a claim for reimbursement of any out of pocket costs, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering that results from acquiring such an illness. Since the disease can sometimes be fatal, family members may need assistance with funeral and other burial costs. Whether a claim is ultimately filed or not, it is always a good idea to get a free consultation with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice, as well as Federal Tort Claims, for the types of issues discussed above. Please do so as soon as possible! Important time limits do apply. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, just give us a call.