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Cruise Ships May Be Held Liable For Medical Malpractice

For years doctors on board cruise ships – and the lines that employ them - have been immune from medical malpractice lawsuits. However, a recent Court of Appeals ruling has made it easier for passengers to hold the cruise line and any negligent health care professionals responsible for their actions.

The lawsuit – Vaglio v. Royal Caribbean Cruise – involves an elderly passenger who fell during a cruise while the ship was docked. The patient received medical care for his injuries. However, the treatment he received was so inadequate – according to the lawsuit – that he fell into a coma and died a week later. His daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit based on medical malpractice, and specifically asserted that the cruise line's health care workers failed to diagnose the patient's cranial trauma.

The failure to diagnose in a timely manner – or a misdiagnosis of a condition – are leading types of medical malpractice. Without a proper diagnosis, patients cannot receive the treatment necessary to heal – or have the best chance at a cure. With delays, conditions may deteriorate and the chances of a complete recovery may diminish.

In this instance, the court determined that maritime law supports a finding that the cruise line may be held vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its on board nurses and doctors.

For more information, or if you believe that you received negligent medical care while on a cruise ship, please contact the experienced California medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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