Duty to Protect Patients

The American zeitgeist is well acquainted with the maxims of medical malpractice (There are three kinds of malpractice: Willful Malpractice, Negligent Malpractice and Ignorant Malpractice”). Medical malpractice is when a doctor or hospital undertakes to treat a patient and acts negligently or omits to take the necessary steps in accordance with the medical standard of care.

Lesser known is the hospital or institution’s duty to protect patients while in their custody. A negligence claim maybe brought is there is a violation of this duty. To establish a claim for negligence you must establish that the defendant had a duty of care, that there was a breach, that there was causation, and that damages exist. The hospital is under a duty to protect patients from injuries that may be foreseen. Whether you slip and fall, are attacked by another patient or staff, or suffer food poisoning at the hands of the hospital they are responsible if they knew or should have known that the injurious act might occur. You may recover damages if any of the injuries you suffered reasonably resulted from the hospital’s negligence.

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