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How do I file a medical negligence complaint against a hospital?
There are two potential answers to this question. It depends on whether you’re asking about filing a formal lawsuit against a hospital because you’ve suffered some sort of compensable injury, or you want to file something more akin to a consumer complaint against a hospital because of a particular incident or due to a pattern of questionable health care practices.
If you were harmed by the provision of sub-standard medical care in the hospital setting, one key issue that you will need to resolve is whether you actually have a case against an individual doctor, as opposed to one against the hospital itself. That’s because most doctors are independent contractors, not employees. And you can’t typically sue a medical facility over the medical negligence of an independent contractor, except in rare cases.
So, if you believe that the harm you suffered stems from sub-standard medical care provided by an individual doctor, the first thing you and your attorney need to figure out is the nature of the relationship between that doctor and the facility where he or she practices.
Of course, the hospital itself could be liable for things like unsanitary or unsafe conditions on the premises, failure of equipment and medical devices, or the actions (or inaction) of hospital staff.
If you had a negative experience at a hospital and you want to report it because you think it indicates potentially unsafe practices at the facility -- but you weren’t harmed yourself -- that’s a different story. There are a number of organizations that hear (and sometimes act on) such complaints against doctors and other care providers, including the American Medical Association, state government medical licensing entities, local medical boards and associations, and consumer groups.
by: David Goguen, J.D.
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