Cruise ship doctors often have a less-than-obvious relationship with the cruise companies for which they work. While many passengers would assume that the doctors are employees of the cruise lines, the fact is that many cruise companies have specified in their cruise contracts that their doctors are not company employees. This distinction can be important, and can come into play when a passenger alleges that the onboard doctor negligently handled his or her medical emergency.
On September 19, 2016, Dennis M. McCarthy filed suit against Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., Minette Botes, M.D., and Van Tonder, M.D., in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit alleges that the defendants are responsible for serious injuries McCarthy suffered a year earlier, when he stepped on a sharp object on a Princess cruise ship. McCarthy was treated by the ship’s onboard medical staff, but upon returning home had to be hospitalized for a severe foot infection, which required surgery to treat.
As can be seen in the video below, cruise ship companies can be held liable for medical malpractice.
According to the North California Record, McCarthy’s suit blames multiple parties, claiming that the defendants “failed to properly treat the plaintiff, failed to properly inspect and maintain the pool, and failed to hire competent and properly qualified doctors.”