Assessing Liability for Health Care Entities that Insufficiently Prepare for Catastrophic Emergencies

The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306(3):308-309

2 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2014

See all articles by James G. Hodge

James G. Hodge

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Erin C. Fuse Brown

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: July 20, 2011

Abstract

Lawsuits against hospitals and other health care entities alleging liability for patient harms are brought and settled routinely in the United States. However, the settlement by health care giant Tenet Healthcare, on the eve of trial on March 23, 2011, in Preston v Tenet Healthsystem Memorial Medical Center, falls outside the norm of routine entity liability cases. The class of plaintiffs in New Orleans alleged not just that Tenet's emergency responses at its Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina were insufficient but that Tenet's failure to prepare for a foreseeable emergency caused their harms. Avoiding the prospect of a negative judgment at trial, Tenet's settlement implicates the increasing potential for health care entities to incur liability for deficiencies in emergency preparedness. It may renew demands to immunize entities from liability in future emergencies and requires a reassessment of the legal standard by which hospitals and other health care entities may be judged.

Suggested Citation

Hodge, James G. and Fuse Brown, Erin C., Assessing Liability for Health Care Entities that Insufficiently Prepare for Catastrophic Emergencies (July 20, 2011). The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306(3):308-309, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2498170

James G. Hodge (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
111 E. Taylor Street, MC 9520
Phoenix, AZ 85004-4467
United States
480-727-8576 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.asu.edu/degree-programs/public-health-law-policy

Erin C. Fuse Brown

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

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