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Cruise ships can now be held liable for medical malpractice

Since Houston is a port city for many cruise ships, residents are used to the large ships' presence and many have taken a vacation cruise. Most cruise passengers have an enjoyable experience and return relaxed and rejuvenated. But what happens if a person is injured while on a cruise and receives medical care from a negligent physician? Up until recently, the victim could not hold the cruise ship company liable for medical malpractice.

A recent ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has opened the door for cruise passengers who have suffered from medical malpractice at the hands of the ship's medical staff to hold the cruise line responsible. In the past any negligence suffered by a passenger was not deemed admissible in court. But, a family in New York has changed how the cruise ship industry is held accountable. The family's loved one was on a cruise in 2011 when he fell and hit his head. He was taken to the ship's medical unit where the nurse on duty said he should go rest in his cabin. The man's condition worsened and his daughter contacted the ship's personnel. After much delay, the man was examined by the ship's doctor, who sent him off the ship to a Bermuda hospital where it was discovered there was bleeding in his brain. He was airlifted to a hospital in New York where he died a week later.

When something goes wrong while on a cruise, not only are vacations ruined but a person can suffer tremendously from both medical issues and emotional trauma. If a cruise passenger believes the care he or she received while onboard a ship was subpar, they may wish to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. A medical malpractice attorney can investigate what happened to the victim and help determine if the victim suffered a worsened condition because of medical malpractice. A competent lawyer can fight in an attempt to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions, and compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

For many Houston residents, taking a cruise is a vacation of a lifetime. When a cruise goes unexpectedly wrong, though, victims should hold them accountable so that they don't harm anyone else in the future.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Ruling opens door for cruise malpractice lawsuits", Curt Anderson, Dec. 23, 2014

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