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Legal Responsibility and Liability in Health Care

The solution answers questions regarding legal responsibility and liability in health care. It discusses the four conditions necessary for a claim of medical negligence to be considered, with examples of each. Further discussion explains legal responsibility in an agency relationship and the principle of respondeat superior.

Boards of Directors of health care organizations have many responsibilities in the operations, regulatory and clinical areas of managing a health care corporation. Examples of each of the responsibilities are provided.

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1. Identify and explain the four elements of proof necessary for a plaintiff to prove a negligence case.
The four elements of proof necessary for negligence to be proved are Duty to protect, Failure to
Exercise Reasonable Standard of Care, Proximate Cause and Actual Injury. In a health care setting,
Staff and physicians have a duty to protect patients from foreseeable dangers that could lead to injury.
They have a duty to make sure equipment is in good working order, so it does not lead to harm. They
also have a duty to take preventive measures which create a safer environment. For example, staff
have a duty to prevent patients from accidental shock during the use of electronic treatment or
diagnostic devices, by making sure they are properly grounded.
The failure to exercise reasonable care is considered an act that a health care worker should
be able to perform to prevent injury or address a specific immediate medial need, should the
circumstances require such action. For example, an emergency room nurse should be trained in and
know how to perform CPR. The nurse may not be successful in every instance, but failing to receive
proper training or to perform the procedure in the specified manner is failure to exercise reasonable
Proximate cause is the connection between failing to exercise a reasonable standard of care and
the circumstances that such failure may bring ...

Solution Summary

This solution emphasizes issues such as legal responsibility and liability in health care.