When it comes to legal liability, the hospital sector is one of the most at-risk industries. It is certainly possible to sue hospitals for malpractice and there are a number of risks that they have to face as a result.
Hospitals face several risks, including malpractice lawsuits, slip and falls, and wrongful death claims. Although the risk of getting lawsuits can be high, there are several ways that hospitals can minimize their risk.
Having an explicit knowledge of hospitals’ risks can help them take the necessary steps to reduce liability. The healthcare industry is constantly changing, so hospitals need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.
What Liability Issues Are Most Common In Healthcare?
Healthcare liability is a serious issue. Around 85,000 medical lawsuits are filed every year.
We’ve all heard stories about patients suing their doctors for medical malpractice. But what other types of legal liability do hospitals face? Before you can understand how to reduce your risk, you need to know your risks. At Varcadipane & Pinnisi, they have experience with various hospital legal liability issues and are here to help you understand your risks.
- Malpractice Suits
One of the most common legal liability hospitals face is malpractice lawsuits. When a patient feels that the negligence of a healthcare provider has harmed them, they may file a lawsuit.
To win a malpractice suit, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care and that this deviation resulted in harm.
Some of the most common types of malpractice suits include:
- Surgical errors
- Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
- Medication errors
- Slip and Falls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows that there are around 2 million fall injuries each year. A surprising number of these injuries occur in hospitals.
Hospitals are often full of people who are sick, injured, or elderly. This can make the risk of slip-and-falls high. If a patient or visitor slips and falls on hospital property, they may file a lawsuit against the hospital. To win a slip and fall case, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the hospital was negligent in its care of the premises.
- Wrongful Death Claims
Unfortunately, sometimes patients die while under hospital care. Although not all deaths are caused by the negligence of hospital staff, some are. When the death of a patient is caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider, the family of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim against the hospital.
To win a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the hospital was negligent in their care of the patient and that this negligence resulted in the death of their loved one. This can be an onerous burden to prove, which is why it is essential to have an experienced attorney.
How Can Hospitals Reduce Their Risk?
No hospital is immune to legal liability. However, there are several steps that hospitals can take to reduce their risk. Some of these steps include:
- Regularly reviewing and updating policies and procedures
- Making sure that all staff members are properly trained on policies and procedures
- Ensuring that all staff members are up-to-date on their licenses and certifications
- Creating a culture of safety
- Taking prompt action when there are incidents or errors
When it comes to reducing your risk, knowledge is power. The more you know about the risks that hospitals face, the better equipped you will be to reduce your risk.
What Are the Risks In Hospitals?
Besides the risks mentioned above, other risks come with running a hospital. These include:
- Data breaches
- Cybersecurity threats
- Reputational damage
- Employee misconduct
- Violation of patient privacy rights
Each of these risks can have a significant impact on a hospital. Hospitals need to have systems and procedures in place to mitigate these risks. The best way to reduce your risk is to partner with a healthcare attorney who can help you identify your risks and implement systems to mitigate them.
1. Data Breaches
When a hospital suffers a data breach, sensitive patient information is exposed. This includes Social Security numbers, medical records, and financial information.
If this information falls into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft or fraud. Additionally, data breaches can damage a hospital’s reputation and lead to costly fines and penalties.
2. Cybersecurity Threats
With the increasing reliance on technology in healthcare, cybersecurity threats have become a significant concern for hospitals. These threats come in many forms, including viruses, malware, phishing scams, and ransomware attacks.
If a hospital’s systems are breached, it could result in the exposure of sensitive patient information or the disruption of hospital operations.
3. Reputational Damage
Hospitals rely on their reputation to attract patients and staff. When a hospital’s reputation is damaged, it can lead to a decline in patient volume and an increase in turnover. Additionally, the reputational damage can lead to costly lawsuits.
4. Employee Misconduct
Unfortunately, not all hospital employees are upstanding citizens. Some engage in misconduct, such as theft, fraud, or abuse. This misconduct can damage a hospital’s reputation and lead to costly legal liabilities.
5. Violation of Patient Privacy Rights
Hospitals are required to protect the privacy of their patients. However, there have been many instances where hospitals have violated patient privacy rights.
This can happen when hospitals sell patient information or fail to secure patient records properly. Violating patient privacy rights can lead to costly fines and penalties.
Hospitals face a variety of risks that can lead to legal liability. While the process may seem daunting, there are steps that hospitals can take to reduce their risk. By partnering with a healthcare attorney, infirmaries can identify their risks and implement systems to mitigate them.
The healthcare industry is constantly changing and evolving. As such, hospitals need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments. Doing so will help them reduce their risk and avoid legal liability.