It is imperative upon every health care personnel to recognize the intersection between medicine and criminal law. There are medical misadventures or misbehaviors that are criminalized by the law and could jeopardize a health professional’s career (Erin et al, 2007). An example of these misadventures is manslaughter due to negligence by health care personnel. While many cases deaths occur by omissions and commissions that are accidental, some are caused by professional negligence resulting to criminalization of such a commission or omission.
For a conduct by health care professionals to be considered a criminal violation, it must be a deliberate deviation from laid down principles, rules, and norms of the profession. This paper explores the types of offenses by health care professionals and their impacts on the careers. Impacts of Criminal Violations on Health Care Professional’s Career The violations by health care professionals may be categorized as felony or misdemeanor. The main difference between a felony and misdemeanor is that a felony is more grievous in nature than a misdemeanor.
Generally, felonies are crimes that are more serious and have possible prison terms ranging from one year to death sentence. Misdemeanors are less serious, and have a maximum sentence of less than one-year imprisonment. Criminal violation in health care refers to failure by the professional to exercise the degree of care while offering services to a patient, among other offenses. A health care provider may expose the patient to reasonable harm during the treatment due to an act of omission or commission (Erin et al, 2007).
With substantive evidence, a client or his/her attorney frequently charge health care professionals with reckless or negligent behavior. Health care-related charges are often leveled against health care providers such as nurses, doctors, and therapists. In addition to negligence, other offenses that can amount to criminal violations include fraud or embezzlement of health care funds. Use of deception to give treatment, medical care, or prescribe medicines or deceitful obtaining of money in relation to medical care amounts to medical fraud.
Accepting bribe from patients, making false insurance claims, carrying out, and charging unnecessary diagnostic tests are other cases of medical fraud. All these are offenses contrary to the False Claims Act (FCA) that covers all civil health care servants. While most of these violations are treated as criminal offenses, in some cases, the victim and the health care professional often prefer civil settlement. Suits for criminal violations associated with health care are at the discretion of the public prosecutor who often looks for either patterns of behavior or a single case of criminating behavior.
Besides being described as an offense by the criminal statutes of the state, the behavior often offends all public decency expected from the professional. In cases where the patient and the professional settles for a civil court after a criminal violation, the professional may only have to give up property or pay money. Cases of medical violation of laws are handled through the normal criminal legal process. Upon receiving a report on a criminal violation by a health care professional, exhaustive investigations are carried out to gather enough evidence for prosecution.
The court then gives out its verdict upon extensive deliberation. The impacts of these violations on the career of the professional depend on the punishment given out by the courts. The punishments range from fines, prison terms, or revocation of licenses and work permits. In some cases, the professional is suspended for a long period thus jeopardizing the career (Erin et al, 2007). These lawsuits, regardless of the punishment meted out to the offenders, always paint the professional negatively in the public eye.
The demand for the services therefore goes down as customers shun his/her services. The punishment that completely wrecks the career of health care professional is the permanent revocation of their practice license. While some license revocations are in form of suspensions, complete revocation renders the skills and knowledge of the professional null and void. This implies he/she is no longer liable to practice as a health care worker. Criminal violations may thus completely end a health care professional’s career. Conclusion
There are diverse impacts of criminal violations on the career of health acre professionals. Heavy punishments such as license revocation or long-term suspension completely wreck the careers of health care personnel. While minor punishments such as monetary compensation to the patient may mildly affect the career of the professional, it derails the growth of the career financially. Other punishments such as financial repercussions may set the career back by many years. Reference Erin, C. A. , & S Ost, S. (2007). The criminal justice system and health care. Oxford University Press.