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The law says a hospital can be held responsible for docs' errors

The mission of every Ohio hospital is to provide patients the best possible care. And most doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are dedicated to meeting the duty of due care they owe their patients.

However, few hospitals of any size can control what members of their medical staff are doing every moment. Patients sometimes experience substandard care that causes them serious injuries. And under the law, hospitals sometimes must pay substantial verdicts or financial settlements because one of their doctors made a mistake.

This is due to the doctrine of "corporate negligence." This doctrine finds that an employer can be liable for negligent supervision or retention of a negligent employee. In the context of medical malpractice, a hospital can be included in a lawsuit when a staff member provides negligent care, for allegedly failing to keep a close enough eye on the medical professional, or for letting him or her practice there in the first place.

Some hospital malpractice claims accuse the facility of allowing a physician to treat patients there when it knew, or reasonably should have known, that the doctor was incompetent. Other times, the plaintiff says the hospital did not provide enough nurses to attend the plaintiff's needs.

These claims frequently get expensive for hospitals, so getting hit with a malpractice suit can be understandably worrisome. But the facts often contradict the suit's accusations. Expert witnesses, and those who witnessed the plaintiff's care, can help hospitals mount a vigorous defense. An attorney experienced in this and other forms of personal injury defense can make a big difference.

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