David J. Wigham


The role of the hospital in the field of medicine has evolved significantly in recent decades. Now hospitals privately distance themselves as far as possible from the acts of the negligent physician. Courts have intervened in recent years and expanded the scope of vicarious hospital liability. This Note will begin with a brief history of vicarious hospital liability. Next, it will examine the elements of two doctrines which are being used to impute such liability to hospitals - agency by estoppel and ostensible agency - and determine how each has been applied by courts across the nation to the hospital in general and the hospital emergency room in particular. Building upon this discussion, the focus will shift to Ohio case law. In particular, there are two seminal cases which represent Ohio's acceptance of hospital agency by estoppel and its subsequent abrogation respectively: Hannola v. City of Lakewood and Albain v. Flower Hospital. This Note will explore Hannola and examine how it comports with the core of reasoning concerning agency by estoppel. Next, Albain will be scrutinized in order to discern why it departed so drastically from the consensus of jurisdictions on this issue, and whether its conclusion was justified.