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medical student errorAlmost all hospitals in the United States are teaching hospitals in some way. Whether they take on interns, have actual classes, or let students observe surgical procedures, hospitals are there to mold and create the world’s next best physicians. In order for any person to graduate medical school, he or she must have hands-on experience. So, it should be no surprise that hospitals throughout the state of Illinois house interns and medical students eager to learn their new profession. While these facilities do take precautions and carefully monitor their students, a lack of staffing – and over-worked residents and attendees on-site – means that medical students and interns are left to treat patients on their own. It is rare, but when a medical student or intern makes a critical error, a patient could suffer irreversible harm or even death.

But, who is technically responsible when a student or intern causes an error? Unfortunately, the answer will depend on several factors.

Anyone in the healthcare field can be faced with a medical malpractice suit – including medical students, interns, physicians, nurses, trainees, and pharmacists. Lawsuits involving students and interns are rare, but if that student does act negligently, there is a potential for a suit against the student or even the hospital.

Determining the Malpractice Value

Most hospitals that are considered “teaching” hospitals offer some of the best care in the country. They work toward treating every patient while still teaching future doctors how to provide excellent care. These facilities do, however, deal with high turnover rates – especially as students rotate between medical specialties or even leave the program unexpectedly. This change rate in staffing can make it difficult for even the best hospitals to properly monitor and/or train their students. When students have various training and expertise levels, but limited monitoring, errors are likely to occur.

One of the most common reasons why lawsuits happen when students make mistakes is negligent supervision – meaning that hospital staff (whether a resident, fellow, or attendee) did not monitor the student or intern properly. Medical students are typically under the supervision of a resident or attendee, which is a licensed physician. These physicians also have their own patients and cases that they are working on while they are training prospective doctors. Therefore, they may not monitor students as effectively as they should – and it is not uncommon for inexperienced students to improperly diagnose a patient.

Hospitals and Vicarious Liability

Physicians are usually liable for any errors on behalf of their interns and students. But, when the physician and the student are part of a training program, the issue of vicarious liability comes into play. The hospital could be considered liable for the student and intern errors that are committed within their facility – especially if the interns are considered hospital employees.

Speak with a Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have suffered an injury due to a medical student or intern, you may still qualify for compensation under the law. The attorneys at Malman Law will assess your case and determine not only if your case qualifies for malpractice, but if the hospital or overseeing physician is vicariously liable for your injuries. To learn more about your options or to speak with an attorney, call us today to schedule a free consultation. You can also ask a malpractice question via our online contact form.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the American Institute of Legal Counsel. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.aiopia.org/selection/.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list. The list is issued by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. A description of the selection methodology can be found at http://www.naopia.com/selection-process.

  • Steven Malman was selected to the list for 2018-2019.

  • Only the top 100 trial lawyers from each state or highly-populated regions of certain states who are actively practicing in civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense law are eligible for invitation. Invitees must demonstrate superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a legal professional. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process based upon objective and uniformly applied criteria which includes peer nominations combined with third party research.

    Prospective members of The NTL are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership.

  • Top Attorneys Diamond Member

  • Top Attorneys of North America 2019-2020

  • The American Institute of Trial Lawyers is an invitation only professional organization composed of premier trial attorneys from each state. These attorneys exemplify the very best qualities and qualifications of an attorney. Each attorney must meet stringent qualifications as a civil or criminal trial attorney. These attorneys practice in a variety of fields to help and promote the ethical and elite practice of law. Selection is based on a thorough multi phase process which includes peer nominations and third party research. Each member must be in good standing with their local compliance organization. Membership is extended to only a select few in each state and/or region.

  • As the founder of Steven J. Malman and Associates, P.C., Attorney Steven Malman has 21 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, premises liability, construction and workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Malman is one of Chicago’s leading authorities on personal injury law and has taken a special interest in defending the elderly from neglect and abuse. He has personally handled over 10,000 cases successfully, and collected hundreds of millions dollars for his clients.

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