Patients seeking care at hospitals and medical centers in Seattle go in with one basic expectation: that the clinicians treating them are qualified to do. This may come from a handful of assumptions, among them being that a doctor would not dream of offering to perform a service they were not qualified to do, and that a facility would never open themselves up to liability by putting a provider in a position to do so. If and when those assumptions are proven to be false, one may wonder who is to blame: the doctor or the facility?
At least in the case of an Illinois woman, it is the facility. The woman recently brought action against the hospital whose surgeon operated on the wrong area of her body. Surprisingly, the surgeon is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, nor is the case deemed to be a medical malpractice claim. Instead, the woman is suing the hospital for negligent credentialing, claiming that had they properly investigated the surgeon’s background, the fact that she was not qualified to perform the procedures that she did would have been discovered. Healthcare industry experts say that information regarding a doctor’s background is available through state medical boards and national data banks, yet some facilities do indeed hire doctors without consulting such resources.
A hospital has duty to protect the patients that come through its doors. Part of that duty may be ensuring that those doctors that it employs are competent healthcare providers. A failure to fulfill it may rightly prompt a patient to take action. Those needing assistance in initiating such action may want to seek the services of an experienced attorney.