The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Sutter, or any skilled nursing facility.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
Additionally, in its investigation, the Department of Public Health reviewed and analyzed infection rates at Memorial Medical Center’s NICU, as well as the entire facility and compared it to infection rates of Pseudomonas infections at other hospitals in the community. Memorial Medical Center’s infection rates in both the NICU and the general hospital were lower than the other hospitals in the community. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
B. Memorial Medical Center is not liable for the actions of physician co-defendant, Dr. White, as a matter of law, in that he is an independent contractor and not an employee or agent of the hospital.
Memorial Medical Center is not liable for the actions or inactions of Dr. Phillip White.
It is well-established law that a hospital is not licensed to practice medicine and, therefore, cannot be held responsible for overseeing the practice of medicine by licensed physicians on its staff. People v. Pacific Health Corporation (1938) 12 Cal.2d 156; Pacific Employers Insurance Company v. Carpenter (1935) 10 Cal.App.2d 592. The Court in Ware v. Culp (1937) 24 Cal.App.2d 22 determined that a hospital is not ordinarily liable for the malpractice committed by physicians on its medical staff. The Court stated:
It has been frequently held that a general hospital is not ordinarily liable for injuries to a patient resulting from the mistakes which occur in the manner of the professional treatment of a patient by … a physician for the reason that their professional treatment is not subject to control or direction by the administrative officers who are employees of the hospital. (Id. at p. 28.)
Further, the Court in Mayers v. Litow (1957) 154 Cal.App.2d 413, made it clear that independent medical staff physicians are not employees or agents of hospitals and ruled that hospitals are not liable for the negligence of such physicians. The plaintiffs in Mayers sued a staff physician for medical malpractice and also sued the hospital on a theory of vicarious liability. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s granting of a nonsuit as to the hospital, holding that the staff physician was only an independent contractor of the hospital and, therefore, not an agent or employee of the hospital. (Id. at p. 418.) The Mayers Court explained that the physician was merely a member of the medical staff at the defendant hospital, and performed surgery at the hospital’s facilities. (See Part 9 of 10.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.