When you go to the hospital, you generally go trying to take care of a specific ailment.  But, what happens if the doctor ends up causing you more, or different, harm than your original injuries?  This question tends to come into play when a person is injured by someone else, goes to the hospital and ends up injured by something in the hospital.  For example, if George shoots Tracy and Tracy has to undergo an operation to remove the bullet, but dies during the operation because she wasn’t given a sufficient blood transfusion.  George may be criminally liable for Tracy’s death, because the surgery was during the usual course of practice.

So, if you are criminally liable even if someone takes a turn for the worst while in the hospital, can you ever escape liability? Sometimes.  If the doctor’s treatment is “abnormal” like amputating a leg for a cut on your arm, or if the treatment is done in a reckless or grossly negligent way, the person who caused the original injury won’t be responsible for the new injury.

What Happens If A Doctor Does Something Extra During Surgery?

Generally, you are legally criminally responsible for the harm you cause another person.  However, there are exceptions to this blanket rule.  One of those exceptions is when a doctor goes beyond what is necessary to care for the harm done by you, and an attempt is made to cure other, unrelated problems, but the patient takes a turn for the worse.  For example, if Joy stabs Hugo because he tried to steal her Marshmallow cereal, Hugo is taken to the hospital and is operated on for the stab wound, but during the operation, the doctor discovers a hernia.  While trying to fix Hugo’s hernia, he has a heart attack and dies.  Joy would only be criminally responsible for the stabbing, but not for the death since the hernia was unrelated to the injury.

What do you think?  Should you be responsible if an injury is caused by a doctor, but they’re only in the hospital because you injured them?