Medical error prosecution: helpful or harmful?

Sunday April 21, 2019

When it comes to patient safety, most people in Connecticut might agree that every patient deserves to receive the highest quality of medical care possible. People also recognize that medical professionals are human beings which makes them naturally prone to making mistakes. When a doctor, nurse or other health care professional does make an error, it is reasonable for the patient or their family members to investigate their compensation and justice options.

A medical malpractice lawsuit is an action taken in civil court. In most cases, financial compensation may be sought to reimburse a plaintiff or to compensate a person in the form of a damage award. A report by National Public Radio casts a spotlight on a case that took place at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in which a nurse today faces criminal charges after the death of a patient.

criminal charge in a medical error case is not as common as a civil lawsuit or claim is. Some today are putting forth the notion medical staff should not be held criminally liable after a mistake is made, especially if there is not found to be any conscious malicious activity or intent. The reason for this school of thought is that such actions may inhibit a health care professional’s or facility’s willingness to report mistakes when they do happen and that awareness and reporting of these events is in the public’s best interests.

The case involves a nurse who overrode safety protocol in order to access a drug she administered to a patient. The drug was the wrong medication and the patient died the next day.

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