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How Hospitals May Be Liable When They Credential Doctors Negligently

doctor.jpgIn addition to hospitals holding vicarious liability for the actions of its doctors and medical staff, hospitals may also be held to be liable for negligently credentialing doctors when they do not meet the basic standards as separate causes of action. Negligent credentialing is a cause of action that is included in a larger type of tort category called institutional negligence. In the case that a hospital negligently credentialed a doctor, the hospital may hold liability separately from that held by the doctor. A medical malpractice lawyer may plead all available causes of action when he or she files a complaint on his or her client's behalf.

What is Negligent Credentialing?

Negligent credentialing occurs in Chicago when a hospital grants privileges to doctors when the doctors do not meet the standards set by The Joint Commission, which is an accrediting organization that sets standards for hospitals that are accredited through it. In one case, a hospital was found to be negligent when a patient had to have his leg amputated after undergoing foot surgery. The doctor who completed the surgery was admitted to practice at the hospital with level II surgical privileges for podiatry even though he was not a licensed podiatrist by was rather a general practitioner. A medical malpractice lawyer may request the applications that have been submitted by doctors to hospitals for admitting privileges along with the credentialing records in order to check whether or not a hospital was negligent in credentialing the doctor who provided the treatment.

In a case that was decided by the Supreme Court of Illinois in 2016, the court ruled that a doctor's application for privileges at the hospital was discoverable in a negligence action against the hospital provided it was reported to the National Practitioner's Database. The credentialing applications and what the hospital reviewed in making its decisions are discoverable in negligent credentialing and medical malpractice civil lawsuits.

Hospitals have a duty of care to only admit doctors who are qualified and to inform doctors what their expected roles are in surgeries. When a hospital negligently credentials a doctor, patients may suffer harm when the doctors are not qualified. A medical malpractice lawyer may assert all available claims. By doing so, he or she may be able to maximize the amount that his or her client may recover because of the additional multiple sources of recovery. 

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