Hospitalists are physicians who for the most part have been trained in internal or family medicine. However, they generally work in a hospital instead of a private practice, and they may receive specialized training to provide quality care within that setting. They usually work with those who experiencing serious health conditions in coordination with the patients' specialists.
While hospital medicine is a relatively new field, those who practice in a hospital are held to the same standard as any other physician. They must provide care comparable to others in their field based on their knowledge and resources available to them. A hospitalist who fails to meet this standard may have committed medical malpractice, and it could result in legal action being pursued by the harmed patient or family members.
In a study that analyzed malpractice claims between 2007 and 2014, it was determined that 78 percent of claims against hospitalists fell into three different categories. Most cases had to do with either improper diagnosis or failure to properly manage a patient's symptoms. Medication errors also made up a large number of medical malpractice claims against those who perform hospital medicine.
Not every doctor or hospital error constitutes medical negligence. Medical malpractice litigation is a complex field, and attorneys who work in this area of the law will encounter many hurdles. If a patient's condition has worsened, the attorney will attempt to find a nexus between the error and the harm. This can often be done by a review of the patient's hospital records as well as through the opinions of medical experts.