Liability of Hospitals to Patients

  • K. N. Kripke
Part of the Medicolegal Library book series (MEDICOLEGAL, volume 7)


The cost of medical care in the United States has reached $ 1 billion per day. The new technology is expensive. We now have in routine use devices and procedures that were undreamed of only a few years ago. There are CT scanners, intraaortic balloon pumps, computerized equipment, and so forth. It is all very good — and all very costly. But, along with the ever-increasing cost of diagnosis and treatment, there is also the increasing cost of incompetence and negligence in the delivery of health care. Would anyone disagree that, as facilities for better care are made available, there is an accompanying duty to use reasonable care in the use of those facilities? New techniques raise new questions such as:
  • When a kidney dialysis machine cannot be made available to everyone, can a hospital be held liable for the manner in which patients are selected for treatment?

  • Does a welfare patient have a right to the same standard of care as a paying patient?

  • Should a congenitally deformed child have an action brought on his or her behalf for wrongful life if the disease was foreseeable and the attempted abortion was botched up?

  • Should a hospital be held liable because it refuses to abort?

  • Should the same heroic life-saving procedures be administered to the elderly as are provided for younger people?

  • Should a hospital be liable for pulling the plug — or not pulling it?


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. N. Kripke

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