Medical Negligence: are claims made against a specific doctor or the hospital?

In the prosecution of a medical negligence claim there are a number of matters which have to be determined for the claim to be successful. One very important preliminary matter is the identification of the proposed defendant.

If the treatment complained of took place in a hospital then a number of options may present. A claim can be prosecuted as against the hospital itself who would be vicariously liable for any negligent conduct on the part of its employees. This would include doctors, nurses, radiologists and any other person involved in the provision of healthcare who are employed by the hospital. The general principle applies that an employer is vicariously liable for the negligent conduct of an employee if such conduct arose out of their employment.

If however the doctor whose treatment is the subject of complaint was a VMO (Visiting Medical Officer) then the arrangements as between the doctor and the hospital may provide that the hospital is not vicariously liable for any negligent conduct on the part of the doctor. In those circumstances the claim would have to be prosecuted as against the doctor and perhaps even as against the hospital as well depending on the particular facts of the case.

Invariably there is little difficulty in identifying the person or persons responsible for any alleged medical negligence. However, where there is a complicated procedure undertaken or a series of procedures then further investigations may be required in order to determine who, in the course of the performance of said procedures, was the negligent party. For example, a procedure itself may require the intervention of a number of doctors and other healthcare professionals. This may also be the case in terms of a course of treatment. A person may be attending upon their own general practitioner as well as a physiotherapist and perhaps even a specialist. Consideration would have to be given as to the circumstances of the particular case to determine which of the healthcare professionals involved were responsible for any medical negligence that may have resulted in additional injury or loss.

The prosecution of a medical negligence claim can be a difficult and complex process. It need not be. Brydens Lawyers are the experts in the prosecution of all medical negligence claims. If you are dissatisfied with the treatment that has been provided and have genuine concerns with respect to the conduct of a healthcare professional, then contact Brydens Lawyers without delay as strict time limits do apply to the making of such claims. We can be contacted on 1800 848 848 or at brydens.com.au. At Brydens Lawyers – #WE DO medical negligence claims.