Some hospital negligence cases are not as cut and dry as others. For instance, if a patient injures another patient or a visitor, and the hospital staff is not directly involved in the incident, can the hospital still be held accountable for negligence? In some cases, yes.
These are often dangerous cases that often involve hospital staff members who failed to monitor their patients or follow procedures properly.
A recent example of such a case occurred at a San Francisco hospital when a 93-year-old patient was beaten by a much younger psychiatric patient in the hospital’s emergency ward. The psychiatric patient allegedly leapt off of the gurney he was being transported on and attacked the elderly woman in her room. The hospital apparently treated psychiatric patients in the emergency room ward before transferring them to a different location.
In the case of this attack, the staff failed to secure a patient who may not have been mentally stable.
Nurses have agreed that there is a significant employee shortage at hospitals in this area, which, although may not have been a factor in this case, could lead to similar incidents in the future.
Although the victim in this incident suffered minor injuries due to the attack, her family expressed that the event had an emotional toll on her. Compensation for her troubles may be pursued and possibly earned if hospital negligence can be proven.
A patient injury can occur when one patient assaults another. The threat of injury can be significant especially in such a place where the patients may not be in the best possible physical condition as it is. Hospitals must have adequate security and procedures in place in order to prevent events such as those that have occurred in this case.
Source: San Francisco Gate, “Family of attacked patient question SF General’s security,” Kale Williams and Erin Allday, Feb. 20, 2014