The Snow Storm

Topics: Health care provider, Health care, Patient Pages: 6 (1952 words) Published: February 22, 2012
The Snow Storm Lawsuit
This case is about a lawsuit that generated from a small community hospital due to a snow storm. During the storm many hospital health care providers were unable to report to work due to the weather, and the Chief Executive Officer was vacationing in the Bahamas. In the meantime, many patients suffered from lack of care and injuries. As a result, many relatives of those patients decided to sue the hospital on their behalf after they died a year later for negligence, duty of care, and wrongful death. This paper will identify and explain the legal, ethical, professional, and business considerations that the hospital would have to face under the unfortunate circumstances. Identify and explain at least three legal considerations.

One matter that the hospital has to legally consider is corporate liability. In corporate negligence, “the hospital owes a legal duty directly to the patient, and this duty is not delegable to the staff” (Showalter, 2008, p.136). Not only is the hospital’s responsibility to furnish a physical facility that can accommodate physicians so they are able to treat patients, but it is their responsibility to demonstrate reasonable care in their selection and retention process of employees. This snow storm could have damaged or destroyed valuable equipment that was necessary to provide the proper standard of care, causing injury to a patient. Not, making sure that the staff is qualified or trained correctly for their position makes them liable as well. Secondly, is the legal consideration during the storm is just plain negligence itself. Negligence is defined as the failure to do what a reasonably careful and prudent person would do under the same circumstances without the intention of doing harm (Showalter, 2008, p.35). The law could hold the hospital liable under the principle of respondeat superior, if the nurse failed to notify the proper personnel that several patients sustained injuries by falling out of bed due to improper medication. Falls are among the most common incidents reported in medical institutions, (Lopez, 2011). They also could be sued for the nurse leaving her patients unattended while she slipped out to get a bite to eat, because they couldn’t make sure she was accounted for. A third legal consideration would be a malpractice suit. The scenario made it perfectly clear that the hospital was severely understaffed to accommodate the medical needs of the patients. Malpractice occur when medical professionals act improperly or unethically (Baker, 2006, p.120). This legal issued can be determined when patients died as a result of wrong medications being administered during their visit. “Sometimes the wrong medication is given because the nurse was in a hurry and didn’t double check, the medication was shelved wrong, the doctor prescribed the wrong medication, or the patient was given another patient’s medication” (Pritzker, 2012). Incidents as such, have a higher possibility of taking place when health care staffs are overworked. According to the scenario, the patient units were understaffed, and health care personnel on day shift had to stay until they were relieved from their duties, and this causes fatigue which causes an increased risk of negligence that leads to malpractice. Identify and explain at least three ethical considerations

Being ethical means knowing right from wrong, and making the right choices. Today ethics play a major role in the responsibilities and duties of health care services. A major ethical consideration would be patient privacy. “Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), they were established to protect the privacy of an individual’s identifiable health information” (Baker, 2006, p.122). During the patients’ visit in the hospital through the storm, keeping their records, communication to outside agencies, and families protected helps to prevent liability. Many of the regulations set by HIPAA allow information...
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