The article, Medical Hospitals’, Surgical Centers’, and Clinics’ Vicarious Liability for Acts and Omissions of Doctors, CRNAs, Physician’s Assistants, and Nurses, discusses the liability imposed to medical practitioners and healthcare organizations in the United States (Writes & Dent, 2012).
The article seeks to determine where legal liability should rest in the event that a patient suffers from an adverse therapeutic outcome in a particular health institution. The article further remarks that the treating physician should, of course, bear the primary legal responsibility owing to his/her breach of duty of care, but under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the employer becomes liable as well.
The doctrine of respondeat superior takes place when the agent commits a wrong within the capacity of service, and the employer (clinics, hospitals, and surgical centers) held accountable even though the principal was not directly involved in any adverse medical performance.
The article examines how the doctrine of respondeat superior applies to emergency room doctors, physician’s assistants, as well as nurses, considering the circumstances surrounding their duty of care. The authors examine whether health care institutions are responsible for medical errors and deviations of part-time physicians.
The article inspects several theories for imposing the doctrine of respondeat superior upon health organizations that are most resourceful for settling the compensation to patients (Writes & Dent, 2012). In this article, legal precedents are employed to highlight the significance of these issues, which normally entail medical institutions as principals in the United States current health care environment.
The topic of this article is ‘the doctrine of respondeat superior’, and applies to my career life as I realize that the doctrine is not only pertinent to medical doctors but also other professionals in the field of health and medicine, which is in line with my profession.
The topic also applies to my professional life, as an aspiring physician, because apart from the liability being shifted to the master, the physician is responsible for the duty of care required of him by the health care provider (Pozgar, 2012).
The doctrine of Respondeat Superior was applied to prosecute a hospital in New Jersey, where an emergency room physician failed to diagnose a patient with appendicitis and advised her to follow her ob-gyn (Writes & Dent, 2012).
After a week, the patient’s condition worsened and was confirmed to be suffering from appendicitis. She later sued the hospital due to the physician’s negligence, failure to carry out in-depth tests to determine her condition, and she won the case.
The author’s intended audience is the legal experts and medical practitioners. This is supported by the technical language and legal references used in the article. In this article, the doctrine of Respondeat Superior has been depicted in a positive way.
The article explains that the liability only binds when it is established that the health care provider exerted control over the careless practitioner’s means and manners of practice (Writes & Dent, 2012).
In my opinion, it is not logical to charge the crimes of a physician to his employer given that the employer had provided clear guidelines on what the agent should adhere to, and the physician was provided with the proper tools and environment in which to operate.
Therefore, the common law doctrine of Respondeat Superior, if taken individually, seems too vague and unfair as it is coupled with challenges of determining what amounts to a physician’s negligence, and other unclear aspects regarding its interpretations (Avraham, 2011). Physicians and other healthcare providers should be aware of this principle in the administration of their employees and their everyday medical practice.
Avraham, R. (2011). Clinical practice guidelines: the warped incentives in the US healthcare system. American Journal of Law & Medicine, 37(1), 7-40.
Pozgar, G. (2012). Legal aspects of health care administration (11th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Writes, D., & Dent, G. (2012). Medical Hospitals’, Surgical Centers’, and Clinics’ Vicarious Liability for Acts and Omissions of Doctors, CRNAs, Physician’s Assistants, and Nurses. Alabama Association For Justice Journal, 31(3), 44-54.