The Common Law Doctrine of Respondeat Superior

Categories: HealthLaw

Provide an overview of the respondeat superior legal doctrine and explain its significance in the health care industry. Additionally, explain at least two defenses to this legal doctrine. Your initial post must be a minimum of 250-300 words. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts. The respondeat superior is a legal doctrine that holds the employers legally responsible for any wrongful acts caused by their employees. The employer is liable for any injuries caused by their employee to their patients.

A health care organization can be held liable for any unjust acts their employees cause. “A hospital has vicarious liability for the negligence of its nurses, which allows a patient to bring a lawsuit against either the nurse individually or the hospital as the employer, or both (Giordano, 2003). It is up to the health care organization to ensure a staff that promotes ethical care and who are competent in their job. “A hospital has a duty to the patient to ensure the competency of its nursing staff and the physicians who maintain privileges at its institution” (Giordano, 2003).

It is important that the health care organization maintains a place that revolves around safety for the protection of their patients and visitors. “Failure to do so may create institutional liability on the part of the hospital” (Giordano, 2003). One of the defenses should be providing adequate care to all patients by monitoring them more often and providing them with the right dosage of medications when needed. “In medication administration, the 5 R’s are often cited: right patient, right drug, right route, right dose, and right time.

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All too often 1 or more of these “rights” are violated, and a patient is injured” (Giordano, 2003). Another defense would be that the health care organization should train all staff upon hire and implement all rules and guidelines and advise them that any misconduct will result in termination.


  1. Malpractice cannot be avoided but they can be reduced (Giordano, 2003).
  2. Giordano, K. (2003). Examining nursing malpractice: A defense attorney’s perspective. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Critical Care Nurse, 23, 104-107. Retrieved from http://ccn. aacnjournals. org/content/23/2/104. full. pdf

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The Common Law Doctrine of Respondeat Superior. (2016, Jul 27). Retrieved from

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