The American Heart Association recently updated its CPR Guidelines. You can read the updates here: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/132/18_suppl_2/S315.full. As Ohio medical malpractice attorneys, certain of these revised guidelines are welcome. Too many hospital negligence cases arise out of failure to rescue, and mistakes and equipment failures during the course of resuscitation.
Much has been written about unnecessary deaths occurring due to failure to rescue salvageable patients. There are a number of factors that contribute to failure to timely rescue patients in the hospital setting:
- understaffing of nurses;
- lack of proper monitoring;
- lack of proper training; and
- equipment failure.
The new CPR guidelines contain a heavy emphasis on education, which will hopefully mitigate some of these factors. Short staffing of nurses and inadequate monitoring will remain a problem as for-profit hospitals assume a larger role in healthcare and non-profit hospitals continue their trend toward profit-seeking policies.
Under Ohio law, a claim for medical negligence or medical malpractice arises when caregivers fail to provide medical care within accepted standards. Standards of care are established by industry guidelines and best practices in which doctors, nurses and ancillary personnel are trained. When unsafe care is provided, and injury occurs, a claim for negligence may arise. Hospital negligence cases are differentiated by the simple fact that the negligent care occurs in a hospital setting.
The old legal adage that “hospitals do not practice medicine” arose out of the legal relationship between hospitals and physicians who practiced on the premises. It used to be that attending physicians were independent contractors, not employees of the hospital. However, there is a trend towards hospitals hiring physicians as their employees. Further, residents (i.e., doctors in training) and nurses are almost always hospital employees. When any employee of the hospital, or caregiver who appears to be employed by the hospital, is negligent, a case for hospital negligence arises.