A public hospital is one that is run or controlled by state or local government or a public trust, e.g. Norman Regional Hospital, Comanche County Memorial Hospital, or Oklahoma State University Medical Center. These hospitals and their employees including employed physicians are subject to the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act. This act limits the liability of public hospitals and its employees to $125,000 to $175,000 depending on the population of the county and $200,000 for certain state mental hospitals and university hospitals. In addition, not only are you limited in the amount of money you can recover, but you also have shortened time frame to assert a claim of one year.
Private hospitals generally associated with large healthcare systems e.g. Mercy, SSM, Integris, Alliance, etc. They can also be privately owned surgicenters etc. Private entities are not limited in liability and you have two years from the date you discovered the injury to assert a claim against a private entity.
For example, a father of four minor children is negligently given the medication and dies. In a government/public hospital, recovery is capped significantly and the time frame is shortened to purse the claim. In a private hospital the recovery is not capped and the time frame to pursue the claim is longer. Why would anyone go to a public hospital for care when public/government hospitals do not have to be fully responsible and accountable for their errors.
The Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act starts at Title 51 O.S. 151 and continues: Short Title (oscn.net)