There are always contested issues in Medical Malpractice Cases. An issue which is front and center in many Medical Malpractice Cases is the relationship between the hospital and the doctors that work at the Hospital.
Kelly Lopez, a minor, is suing Miami Children’s Hospital for Medical Malpractice. Kelly’s parents allege that Miami Children’s Hospital is vicariously liable(responsible) for the negligent acts of Dr. Trevor Resnick-Director of Neurology at Miami Children’s Hospital.
Kelly was examined by Dr. Resnick, and was told she did not need any corrective surgery for a cerebral aneurysm.(speculating that she had a cerebral aneurysm from the story).
A risk of not having corrective surgery is that the brain aneurysm ruptures, releasing blood into the skull and causing a stroke. Following her visit with Dr. Resnick, Kelly had 3 strokes.
While the lawsuit against Dr. Resnick was settled, the claim against the hospital is still pending, because Miami Children’s is refusing to accept responsibility for Dr. Resnick’s alleged Medical Malpractice
A hospital’s liability (responsibility) for the negligent acts of a doctor has significant financial implications. First and foremost Doctor’s in Florida are not required to carry Medical Malpractice Insurance. If a doctor does carry Medical Malpractice Insurance, the limits of insurance are typically $250,000.00, and that may not be enough money to cover future medical care and future lost wages, let alone Pain and Suffering damages.
Most patients assume that when they go to the hospital, all of doctor’s that work there are employees or agents of the hospital. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A hospital may be liable for the actions of a physician where the physician is an apparent agent of the hospital. Apparent agency exists only where the principal creates the appearance of an agency relationship. Florida Courts have applied the doctrine of apparent authority to physicians who have rendered care and treatment to patients in the emergency room.
A hospital can be liable for independent contractor physicians actions regarding the duties
that are non delegable. Florida law clearly states that emergency room services are a hospitals non delegable duty. The law has ben extended to include anesthesiologist and radiologist. Beyond that, the law is not clear.
These types of cases and arguments are becoming more prevalent with Hospital’s adverting for certain services and holding themselves out as leaders in providing certain services such as “Stroke Centers”.