Hospital’s Negligent Credentialing of Surgeon Not Proximate Cause of Patient’s Death from Surgery

No evidence that a hospital’s negligent credentialing of a physician to perform prostatic cryosurgery on patients was causally connected to negligent performance of the surgery on the patient.


In this case, the wife of the deceased patient filed a medical malpractice action against the cryosurgery surgeon and treated the patient's postoperative complications, and also filed a negligent credentialing claim against the hospital. The Georgia Court of Appeals found there was no evidence that the physician negligently performed the prostatic cryosurgery during which the rectal injury occurred, as was necessary to establish a causal connection between the hospital's alleged negligent credentialing and the patient's postoperative complications and death from the rectal injury.


The court noted a hospital has a direct and independent responsibility to its patients to take reasonable steps to ensure that staff physicians using hospital facilities are qualified for the privileges granted. However, if no malpractice is shown, the hospital cannot be negligent in its credentialing of the physician. 


See: Ladner v. Northside Hosp., Inc., 2012 WL 500597 (Ga.App. Feb 16, 2012) (not designated for publication).