Generally, the government is immune from tort liability when engaged in a governmental function (see When Can The Government Be Sued?). However, an exception to this general rule exists for medical care provided by a government agency or employee:
"This act does not grant immunity to a governmental agency or an employee or agent of a governmental agency with respect to providing medical care or treatment to a patient...". MCL 691.1407(4).
This exception was created in 2000 to close a loophole that that prevented doctor's affiliated with university owned and operated hospitals from being sued for negligence. See Vargo v Sauer, 457 Mich 49, 576 NW2d 656 (1998).
There are several exceptions, however. Under the statute, hospitals owned or operated by either the department of community health or the department of corrections still enjoy immunity. Additionally, the act was amended to provide immunity for "uncompensated search and rescue operation medical assistants" and "tactical operation medical assistants".
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