A patient has filed a $3 million medical malpractice lawsuit against St. Patrick Hospital. In light of the patient’s litigious background and the facts of the case, hospital administration is adamant that it is not liable. It has instructed its legal counsel to proceed toward trial, where it may be absolved of liability.
- What source of law is the patient’s lawsuit likely to be based on?
- Is the hospital’s decision to proceed toward trial a wise one? Why or why not?
- What other options does the hospital have?
- Besides the financial resources required to legally defend itself, what non-monetary factors must the hospital take into consideration when deciding to proceed toward trial?
- What risks does the hospital assume when it takes a case to trial?
- Is it the hospital’s or the legal counsel’s decision to try the case or settle? What decision-making authority does the hospital’s insurance company have?
Please number your responses so that I know which questions you are answering. Questions 1 and 3 probably only require one sentence. The remaining questions require a few sentences or a paragraph! Be sure to cite your sources!
Expert Solution Preview
1. The patient’s lawsuit is likely to be based on tort law, specifically medical malpractice. Tort law encompasses cases where a person has been wrongfully injured due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, in this case, the St. Patrick Hospital.
2. The hospital’s decision to proceed toward trial may not necessarily be wise, as it carries potential risks and uncertainties. However, the ultimate decision depends on the specific circumstances of the case, the strength of the hospital’s defense, and the advice of their legal counsel. If the hospital believes it has a strong case and stands a good chance of being absolved of liability, it may choose to proceed to trial. It is essential for the hospital to carefully assess the potential costs, benefits, and risks involved before making a final decision.
3. Besides proceeding to trial, the hospital has several other options available. It can explore the possibility of a settlement with the patient, wherein a negotiated agreement is reached outside of the courtroom. Settlements can save time, money, and reputational damage. Additionally, the hospital can also consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration, which can offer a more informal and collaborative approach to resolving the dispute.
4. Apart from the financial resources required to defend itself, the hospital must consider non-monetary factors when deciding to proceed toward trial. These factors may include the potential impact on the hospital’s reputation, patient trust, and staff morale. Litigation can generate negative publicity, which may tarnish the hospital’s image and affect its relationships with stakeholders. It is crucial for the hospital to carefully weigh these intangible factors alongside the financial implications.
5. Taking a case to trial carries inherent risks for the hospital. There is a possibility of an unfavorable verdict, resulting in substantial financial damages. Additionally, the trial process can be time-consuming, diverting resources and focus away from delivering healthcare services. Furthermore, the trial may unearth sensitive information or expose internal shortcomings, which could further damage the hospital’s reputation.
6. The decision to try the case or settle is a joint decision between the hospital administration and the legal counsel. While the legal counsel provides expert advice on the legal aspects, the hospital administration, as the client, holds the ultimate decision-making authority. The hospital’s insurance company may also have input, as they may potentially bear the financial implications of the case. It is common for insurance companies to provide guidance and recommendations based on their assessment of the risks and potential costs involved.
– Penny, M. J. (2017). The American Legal System for Foreign-Educated Nurses: A Primer. Springer Publishing Company.