In 1980, patient (plaintiff) James Johnson filed suit against Misericordia Community Hospital alleging medical malpractice. The suit specifically alleged corporate negligence in the appointment of Dr. Lester V. Salinksy (independent member) to the medical staff at Misericordia Community Hospital. During the surgery, Dr. Salinsky severed the femoral artery, resulting in partial paralysis for Johnson (casebriefs. com). Ultimately, Johnson suffered a permanent paralytic condition to his right thigh muscles with resultant atrophy and weakness as well as a loss of function after undergoing hip surgery performed by Dr.
Salinsky (Showalter, 2012). Salinsky settled litigation with the plaintiff Johnson before trial, but Misericordia disputed the allegation that the hospital was negligent in the hiring of Salinsky. The issue of significance revealed during the trial of Johnson v. Misericordia Community Hospital is that Salinsky’s qualifications, medical standing and references listed on the application of employment were never verified by Misericordia.
During the trial it was revealed that; Dr. Salinsky presented an application for employment with information that included significant misstatements and exclusions that should have been a cause for a denial of appointment to Misericordia’s medical staff. For example, Salinsky failed to answer questions related to his malpractice liability insurance and also failed to mention that his privileges had been suspended, diminished, revoked or not renewed at any hospital.
Instead, not only were Salinsky’s requested orthopedic privileges and appointment to the hospital’s medical staff approved; Salinsky was also elevated to the position of Chief of Medical staff shortly after joining the medical staff. Misericordia’s medical staff coordinator, Jane Bekos stated that an examination of Misericordia’s records reflected that at no time was an investigation made by anyone representing Misericordia, of any of the statements recited in Salinsky’s application or employment (Showalter, 2012).
This was an oversight on behalf of Misercordia despite the fact that the Salinsky’s application for employment authorized Misericordia to contact his malpractice carriers, past and present, and all the hospitals that he had previously been associated with, for the purpose of obtaining any information bearing on his professional competence, as well as his moral, and ethical qualifications for staff membership State the relevant laws that the case uses. The Doctrine of Corporate Negligence holds health-care facilities, such as hospitals, nursing homes and medical clinics, accountable for the well-being of patients.
Under the Doctrine of Corporate Negligence the hospital owes certain “duties” directly to the patient, which cannot be delegated to the medical staff. Under the Doctrine of Corporate Negligence Misericordia Community Hospital, owes a duty to its patients to refrain from any act which will cause foreseeable harm to others even though the nature of that harm and identity of the harmed person or harmed interest are unknown at the time of the act (westlaw citation). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Thompson v.
Nason Hospital classified the hospital’s duties into four categories. 1) a duty to use reasonable care in the maintenance of safe and adequate facilities and equipment; 2) a duty to select and retain only competent physicians; 3) a duty to oversee all persons who practice medicine within its walls as to patient care; and 4) a duty to formulate, adopt and enforce adequate rules and policies to ensure quality care for the patients. The hospital also failed to adhere to its own bylaw provisions and to the Wisconsin statues related to medical credentialing.
The respondeat superior doctrine holds an entity liable for the negligent acts of an employee arising from the course of his or her employment. At the onset of Salinsky’s employment he was an independent contractor. Hence, Johnson is not claiming Misercoridia vicariously liable for the negligence of Salinsky under respondeant superior. Salinsky would have had to be an employee of Misercordia for the respondeant superior doctrine to hold up throughout a court trial. Globally the Corporate Negligence Doctrine means that hospitals are no longer immune from tort liability when a case of negligence is brought to court.
The hospital duty is owed directly to the patient. Hospitals who wish to avoid liability in cases such as Johnson v. Misercordia Community Hospital should ensure that the organization has an established and functioning credentialing system. Each application for employment should be verified including the applicant’s prior hospital affiliations and malpractice carriers. There should also be an established procedure utilized to approve medical privileges to the hospital and elevation to other positions in the hospital.
The appointment and approval of medical privileges should also be approved by the governing board or executive committee after the credentials of the applicant have been verified. The adoption of corporate liability (negligence) has been linked to the rising number of medical malpractice claims, the ever increasing cost of healthcare (particularly in the United States) and also the issues related to obtaining and maintaining medical malpractice coverage for health care providers and entities. References Personal Injury and Corporate Negligence. (n. d. ).
The Law Offices of Stephen R Bough. Retrieved March 15, 2014, from http://www. boughlawfirm. com/articles/personal-injury-corporate-negligence JOHNSON v. MISERICORDIA COMMUNITY HOSP. | Leagle. com. (n. d. ). JOHNSON v. MISERICORDIA COMMUNITY HOSP. | Leagle. com. Retrieved March 14, 2014, from http://www. leagle. com/decision/198180799Wis2d708_1746. xml/JOHNSON%20v. %20MISERICORDIA%20COMMUNITY%20HOSP. ’ Showalter, J. S. (2012). Liability of the Healthcare Institution. The law of healthcare administration (6th ed. , pp. 157-190). Chicago, Ill. : Health Administration Press.