Without a doubt, medical clinics provide extremely valuable services to their communities. While their resources tend to be very limited, and their budgets low, they offer the uninsured basic medical care where they might otherwise have access to none at all.
However, because the people who staff these clinics are licensed medical professionals, such as physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, they are usually subject to the law of medical malpractice.
What is Malpractice in a Medical Clinic?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s conduct falls below established standards of care, and that causes an injury, they are liable to the patient for whatever damage they cause. This ordinary principle generally applies the same to doctors working at medical clinics.
However, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, medical professionals who work at charitable free clinics are deemed to be federal employees for the purpose of civil liability. This makes them immune from medical malpractice liability, if they meet certain requirements. Presumably, this law was passed to encourage more medical professionals to offer their services for free, by making it less risky to do so. This law apparently does not apply to clinics that charge for their services.
How Do I Know Whether My Clinic Can Be Sued for Medical Malpractice?
The rules for whether or not employees of free clinics are deemed federal employees and exempt from medical malpractice lawsuits are quite complicated. Accordingly, it is a good idea to contact a medical malpractice attorney to see whether or not you can sue a clinic for medical malpractice.