STJ decides that public hospital should compensate for crime that occurred on its premises

Guilherme de Almeida Ribeiro

By granting the special appeal filed by the mother of a patient who died from a gunshot wound in a public hospital in Rio Grande do Sul, the Second Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) established the understanding that the hospital that fails to provide the minimum security, contributing in a decisive way to the homicide committed on its premises, objectively responds for the omissive conduct.

The rapporteur of the case, Minister Og Fernandes, observed that, according to precedents of the STJ, in accordance with the understanding of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the State responds objectively, including for omissive acts, when a defect or precariousness in the service is proven, arising from the failure of the legal duty to act.

The magistrate highlighted that the activity carried out by hospitals, in addition to the medical service, includes the auxiliary service of stay. Therefore, in the case of a public hospital, the State has a duty to provide the necessary conditions to achieve this purpose – including security services.

“The hospital’s conduct, which fails to provide the minimum security service and, therefore, disregards the duty to ensure the physical safety of patients, contributed in a decisive and specific way to the homicide committed on its premises”, concluded Og Fernandes when restoring the compensation set out in the judgment.

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