Who has a duty of care to a patient who suffered from a medical error? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Health care providers and health care facilities can be held legally responsible for breaching their duty of care for a patient.

Examples of practitioners who can be named as defendants (“respondents” in legalese) in medical malpractice cases include

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Radiologists
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Chiropractors
  • Osteopaths
  • Dentists

These licensed health care providers are legally responsible for the actions and decisions of their assistants and aides. So, for example, if a pharmacy technician dispenses the wrong drug to the wrong patient, the pharmacist who was supervising the technician at the time that the error was made would be named as the defendant in the medical malpractice lawsuit.

Examples of health care facilities that take on a duty of care include

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Group practices
  • Pharmacies
  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living communities

The facility is responsible for hiring, training, equipping and supervising health care providers, as well as for ensuring that patients receive services in a clean and safe setting.