HCA Lawsuit Dismissed

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A federal judge has dismissed a class-action lawsuit against HCA Inc., the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain.

US District Judge J. Thomas Marten said this week the cases in the class action need to be examined individually.

In April, Wichita lawyer Lawrence Williamson sued the hospital chain, claiming it defrauded patients by directing its affiliated hospitals to staff nursing units below generally accepted levels. HCA owns Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.

But Judge Marten says those cases involve medical malpractice that should be examined on an individual basis, not in a consumer class-action.

The ruling means that HCA as a corporation can't be held liable at each of its hospitals.

Williamson says he'll appeal.