Who can commit medical malpractice? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A provider-patient relationship creates a duty of care. Failing to meet that duty by acting negligently or recklessly constitutes medical malpractice.

What this means in practical terms is that any medical professional who diagnoses, treats or takes care of a patient in a hospital or nursing home can potentially be held liable for medical malpractice. The facilities where patients seek care can also be found liable for malpractice when a provider’s negligence or recklessness resulted from insufficient policy guidance, training or supervision.

An incomplete list of people and organizations that can face medical malpractice claims includes

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • OB/GYNs
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Facility managers
  • Facility owners

While medical assistants and pharmacy technicians can commit medical malpractice, those paraprofessionals will rarely be named in lawsuits because their work is directly overseen by doctors, nurses or pharmacists. That situation actually makes a doctor, nurse or pharmacist responsible for meeting the duty of care.