Holding Residents and Teaching Hospitals Liable for Minnesota Medical Malpractice

Residents Who Commit Medical Malpractice in Minnesota Can Make Hospitals, Teaching Facilities, and Supervising Physicians Liable for Medical Malpractice


After finishing medical school, graduates spread their wings of academia and flock to teaching hospitals to gain experience in their speciality through their intern year and then residency years.  During this time, residents learn from experienced physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.  These residents are able to spend time in their practice group and learn from those who have been practicing for years, gaining valuable experience that a textbook cannot provide.


While this if vital to medical education and advancement, it is also dangerous.  Inexperienced healthcare professionals are rendering care and treatment to patients.  Real patients.  With real afflictions.  Even though the residents are being “supervised,” they are not exactly supervised to the point where everything they do is closely monitored.  In fact, some residents are completely practicing with minimum physician intervention. This is because many hospitals and insurance companies have policies that supervising physicians only need to be present one two critical points of patient care.  In a surgery, this could mean the surgeon is only present for the incision and stitch up, leaving the resident to perform the entire surgery by himself or herself.  This is why medical malpractice by a resident is very serious and can result in horrible pain and suffering.


Liability When a Resident Commits Medical Malpractice: How To Hold Others Liable


Even though the hospital and supervising physician does not directly commit medical malpractice, they may be liable.  In fact, even when only the resident is the one who makes the mistakes, Minnesota law will create liability against the hospital and supervising physician through the doctrine of vicarious liability.  This doctrine is where one entity or person will be liable for the acts of another when there is a special relationship.


Here, as to the hospital, the special relationship is master-servant.  That is, the resident is the employee of the hospital who is the employer.  Under Minnesota law, the employer will be liable for the negligent acts of the employee who commits such mistakes within the scope of employment.  This is important because in medical malpractice cases this is a very common scenario.


As to the supervising physician, the resident’s conduct is supposed to be monitored, supervised, and reviewed by the supervising physician.  The physician has an agreement with the hospital and/or teaching facility to perform this supervision.  When the physician allows the resident to practice medicine in an improper manner, the supervising physician is liable because he or she is supposed to be guiding the resident.  If the resident makes a mistake, the supervising physician is the one who will be liable for it.


Therefore, a victim of Minnesota medical malpractice will be allowed to seek compensation against not only the negligence resident, but also against the hospital and supervising physician.  This is fair because both entities are supposed to be monitoring the resident and are receiving a benefit from the resident’s work (i.e., money).


When Residents Commit Medical Malpractice, the Hospital and Supervising Physician Will be Liable for Medical Malpractice


If you or a loved one have been injured due to the medical malpractice of a healthcare provider such as a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other health care service professional, call Kuhlman Law, LLC for a FREE consultation by dialing (612) 444-3374 to learn what your rights to compensation may be.  If we accept your case, we will conduct a thorough review of your case and advise you whether there may have been a serious medical mistake causing your injury.   There is no risk, and you do not owe us money unless we win your case.

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