A court in Tennessee recently held that a hospital can be held liable for patient safety, not under the doctrine of medical negligence, but under general premise liability, i.e., failure to keep the environment safe for a patient. This ruling comes from a 2010 case in which a woman who was admitted to a psychiatric unit for hallucinations was assaulted in the shower by a male patient. The court held that the facility did not have appropriate safeguards in place to protect their patients from assault.
The bottom line, hospitals and medical professionals are responsible for keeping their patients safe.
More information on this topic can be found on the amednews website: Hospital can be sued in man's alleged attack on another patient.