Suing Clinics: Can You Sue In-Store Clinics for Medical Mistakes? Yes


Suing Clinics: Can You Sue In-Store Clinics for Medical Mistakes? Yes

Clinics aren’t hospitals, but they aren’t doctor’s offices either. And not all clinics are the same. In this week’s news, there are stories about how Melissa Rivers plans on filing a lawsuit against the New York City clinic where her mother, Joan Rivers, went for treatment and never regained consciousness.

In Joan Rivers’ situation, the clinic, Yorkville Endoscopy, offered some level of surgical procedure as part of its services to patients. The clinic therefore had to have facilities for anesthesia to be provided as well as for surgeries to take place and for patients to recover from a minor surgery. According to the NYC Medical Examiner, Joan Rivers stopped breathing during an endoscopy performed at the clinic and later died from brain damage resulting for a lack of oxygen to the brain during the clinic procedure.

In-Store Clinics: Target, CVS

This NYC Clinic is a specialized clinic. However, not all clinics are specialized, there are general-services clinics, too. Consider the huge number of “in-store clinics” or “retail clinics” that are popping up around Indiana and Illinois. Today, you can go shop at your local Target or CVS and while you’re buying school clothes or birthday cards, you can also stop into the designed clinic area for medical treatment.

Now, these in-store clinics are not a full-stop care facility. They are manned by nurse-practitioners and most folk drop into the Target Clinics and the CVS Clinics for things like colds, flu, and allergy relief.

Walmart to Open Full-Service In-Store Clinics

However, Walmart has announced that their stores will also be opening in-store clinics, and these Walmart Clinics hope to offer visitors a lot more than the current in-store clinics around our community. Walmart wants to include all sorts of primary medical care at these new clinics, making them a viable alternative for all sorts of patient needs. And, of course, the in-store pharmacy will be right there to assist those leaving the clinic with their prescription needs.

Will you get the same level of care at these in-store clinics as you might at a more traditional care facility? There are many who fear that the in-store clinics will provide a kind of second-tier medical care. Of course, one big advantage of these in-store clinics is that going to them costs so much less. That’s a big, big deal these days. Walmart Clinics will charge a mere $40 for basic, acute care, and wellness check-up (and the cost is only $4 for Walmart employees and their families).

What happens if something goes wrong at a clinic?

If you or a loved one suffer injury from treatment or care received at a clinic, then that clinic may be liable for injury damages just like a doctor or a hospital. Your injury lawyer would proceed against the clinic as a legal entity as well as other possible defendants, like the physician or nurse practitioner that provided treatment.

An interesting twist to the in-store clinics is whether or not Target, Walmart, or CVS would also be sued as a defendant in a case where someone was harmed in one of these in-store clinics. Will the stores have some kind of legal barrier between themselves and the clinic that they will argue protects them from liability – like a lease? Will the courts respect that legal barrier or argue it’s invalid?

(Walmart is the full owner of these new in-store clinics. In the past, Walmart had leased space inside its store to other health care companies, but this new venture is an in-house venture owned and operated by the company itself. )

Bottom line, it’s important to know that clinics exist to provide medical care but each clinic is different. These facilities may be more than capable of handling some types of illnesses and diseases and woefully unable to deal with other situations — or with complications that may develop from a simple situation.

If you or a loved one have been treated and suffered injury at a clinic, then know that the clinic itself as well as the doctors or practitioners who provided the treatment may all be defendants in an injury case.

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