Belmont Health Law Journal


This note will explore the rise of criminal prosecutions of health care providers for medical errors, absent any intent to harm.46 This note will demonstrate that in the interest of patient safety and error prevention, there are alternative forms of punishment, other than criminal prosecution, that are better suited to address medical errors when there is no intent to do harm. Part II of this note lays out mechanisms currently in place to address medical errors. Part III attempts to address why some cases are criminally prosecuted by analyzing specific cases. Next, Part IV explores arguments for and against criminal penalties for medical errors. Finally, Part V concludes with the recommendation to improve upon the mechanisms currently in place to address medical errors rather than relying on criminal prosecution.