A Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., has published his research into various categories of treatment of patients in hospitals. These categories ranged from more simplistic “bad doctors” to “more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.”

Dr. Makary explained that “when a plane crashes, we don’t say this is confidential proprietary information the airline company owns… we consider it part of public safety. Hospitals should be held to the same standards.” The study and research was done to illuminate problems which are normally swept under the rug by hospitals and healthcare facilities. Often, these facilities will go out of their way to avoid discussing any issues or risks, and frankly bend over backwards to keep such information confidential, arguing it is “privileged.”

Continue Reading Medical Errors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

For those unaware, hospital “privileges” permit a doctor, who is not an employee of the hospital in question, to practice medicine within that hospital. Depending on the specific nature of the privileges, a doctor may be permitted to admit patients to the hospital, to see and treat patients in the hospital, or to perform surgery at the hospital.

A doctor seeking privileges at a particular hospital must first go through a credentialing process before any privileges are granted. The process typically involves the hospital reviewing and verifying the doctor’s credentials and competence. In addition, the hospital may look at a doctor’s education, training, license, board certification, work history, malpractice history, and/or criminal background before finally granting any privileges.

One topic that has arisen across the country concerns the question of whether a hospital can be sued for negligently granting privileges. Often referred to as a “negligent credentialing” claim, this cause of action essentially alleges that the hospital was negligent in granting privileges to a doctor who should not have been privileged in the first place, because of a lack of competence, training, or some other factor. In Pennsylvania, this legal theory falls under the hospital Corporate Negligence Doctrine.

Continue Reading Can Hospitals Be Sued for Negligently Granted Privileges?