Captain-of-the-Ship Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Captain-of-the-Ship Doctrine is a principle of medical-malpractice law, holding a surgeon liable for the actions of assistants who are under the surgeon's control but who are employees of the hospital, not the surgeon. The surgeon as "the captain of the ship," is directly responsible for an alleged error or act of alleged negligence because he or she controls and directs the actions of those in assistance. This common law doctrine is often used in operating room situations.