The main objective of this paper is to discuss legal aspects concerning health care crimes such as misdemeanor and felony. It is a discussion that focuses on different types of crimes and impact of criminal violations on health care professional career. Health care professionalism is a very delicate career as it deals with health of human beings. Criminal offenses such as felony and misdemeanor are commonly observed in health care. It is important first to differentiate the two terms before discussing issues relating to their impact on health care professionals.
Misdemeanor versus felony The difference between misdemeanor and felony does not usually give a clear cut from State to State or in other countries. The most distinguishing factor of these two terms is the maximum length of period a person can be incarcerated for the crime (Enserink M. , 2005). Misdemeanors are less serious crimes punishable by incarceration or fine for less than one year. Most crimes in the category of misdemeanors are charged by written indictment and in many jurisdictions, defendants are not allowed to appoint a lawyer.
On the other hand, a felony is a serious crime punishable by more than one year in prison or death penalty. Additional criminal procedures apply in the case of a felony and the defendant is allowed to hire a lawyer. When a felony is committed by an adult it remains on record and this means that people convicted of such crime will have hard time when finding their career jobs in future (Shulman H. , 2001). In the case of a misdemeanor, when a crime is committed by an individual prior to his or her eighteenth birthday records are expunged once such an individual attains 18 years.
Impact of criminal violations on health care professionals Criminal violations by a health care professional have certain implications to his or her status and license. In the case of felony, the health care professional finds it hard to find employment in public or private health centers (Clevette, A. , e tal, 2007). A felony will always remain on records especially when committed by adult health professionals. This means that in the event the health professional wants to find employment records will proof of his or her crimes hence it becomes hard to get employed.
His or her professional status is lowered and it has an impact in the nature of handling the practicing license. Criminal violations by professionals in health care deny an individual from participating fully in health care profession as his or her license is confiscated. The law provides that any health care professional engaging in criminal offences that measure to level of a felony are deemed to suffer the consequences of license confiscation (Gilbelman, M. & Whiting, L. , 1999). This makes the individual liable for criminal offences and faces a jail term of not less than one year.
The period spend by the individual in jail makes him or her lose property, experience and status. Dealing with the health of human beings is an issue that requires the practitioners to be careful because death of one patient out of ignorance is a big loss to the entire economy. A misdemeanor may not be a serious case in the health care professionals but an individual convicted of such a crime is liable for any form of damage suffered by a patient. Health care professionals should carry on their duties with a lot of care so as to avoid loss of license and demotion.
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