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

Medical malpractice is a serious concern in healthcare, as it can have life-altering consequences for patients. When we discuss who can commit medical malpractice, it’s essential to understand that medical malpractice can involve a range of healthcare professionals and institutions. In essence, anyone involved in a patient’s care who breaches the standard of care can potentially commit medical malpractice.

In practical terms, this means 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 results from insufficient policy guidance, training, or supervision.

The following is a list of various parties that can be held accountable for medical malpractice.

Physicians and Surgeons

Doctors, including general practitioners, specialists, and surgeons, are perhaps the most commonly associated professionals with medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice by physicians can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, failure to obtain informed consent, and negligent treatment decisions.


Nurses play a vital role in patient care and can also be subject to medical malpractice claims. Examples of nurse-related malpractice include administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, failing to monitor a patient’s condition, and not following established protocols.


Anesthesiologists are responsible for administering anesthesia during surgery. Errors related to anesthesia can be particularly dangerous and may include administering the wrong type or dosage of anesthesia, failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or improperly intubating the patient.


Pharmacists can commit malpractice when dispensing a patient the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage. This can lead to adverse drug reactions, allergic reactions, or other serious health complications.


Dental malpractice can occur when dentists fail to meet the standard of care during dental procedures. This may involve issues such as incorrect extractions, improper anesthesia administration, or inadequate equipment sterilization, leading to infections.

Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

Hospitals and healthcare facilities can be held liable for medical malpractice under the principle of vicarious liability. This means that if a healthcare provider, such as a doctor or nurse, commits malpractice while working within a hospital or healthcare institution, the institution can also be held accountable for the negligence, particularly if they failed to provide adequate supervision or maintain proper protocols.

Medical Residents and Interns

In teaching hospitals, medical residents and interns are often involved in patient care under the supervision of attending physicians. If these trainees make errors or fail to provide the expected standard of care, they and their supervising physicians can be liable for medical malpractice.


Radiologists interpret medical images like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Errors in their interpretations can result in delayed or incorrect diagnoses, leading to serious harm or even death.


Midwives are responsible for providing prenatal care and assisting with childbirth. If they fail to provide appropriate care during pregnancy or labor, resulting in harm to the mother or baby, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.

Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, and Alternative Medicine Practitioners

Even practitioners in alternative medicine and non-traditional healthcare fields can be subject to medical malpractice claims. This may include chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and others. Malpractice in these contexts can involve improper treatment techniques, lack of informed consent, or negligence in patient care.

Consultation with an Attorney

Navigating Virginia’s medical malpractice settlement process requires legal expertise, thorough investigation, and skilled negotiation. If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, it’s essential to consult with an experienced Virginia Beach medical malpractice attorney who can guide you through the process, protect your rights, and advocate on your behalf to seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. Contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for a free and confidential case evaluation and find out what legal recourse you may have.