Understanding the nature of clinical negligence and medical errors

The article focuses on the crime of health professionals committed through professional negligence. Basically, the law envisages two forms of negligence: imprudence of medical worker who foresees the possibility of socially resonant consequences of the act, groundlessly hoping to avoid them, and negligence when the healthcare worker doesn’t foresee the risk of adverse effects, even though she could have and should have taken it into consideration.

In arrogance the doctor counts on prevention of adverse effects not through some reasonable circumstances, but rather with the hope for good luck or positive coincidence. If guilty of negligence the specialist doesn’t foresee the possibility of occurrence of dangerous consequences of his act, so he does not think about the fact that the act or omission may cause harm to the collective interests or the interests of individuals.

In deciding on criminal negligence it is primarily ascertained whether the defendant had the opportunity to anticipate the occurrence of dangerous consequences of his action or inaction. This in turn depends on the objective circumstances in which the accused acted (official position, rank, specialisation, etc.). For example, there may be cases when the doctor who was to anticipate the results of their action or inaction, could not make it due to objective circumstances the electricity suddenly turned off or the equipment was broken during operation) or the subjective condition of the accused (the inexperience of the doctor, disease, etc.).

The question of the careless actions of medical workers are often associated with inappropriate and unjustified risk in the process of helping the patient. From a legal standpoint, the risk is justified and legitimate, when the dangerous action is taken to achieve a socially useful purpose, as scientifically proven that there was an objective opportunity to achieve this goal, and when risk-free means are useless in the achievement of this goal. In this attack the adverse effects are possible, but not inevitable. Such situations are encountered in medical practice on a regular basis. However, the patient or his relatives should be aware of certain risks associated with forthcoming operation or other medical procedure and give its consent.

The nature and extent of the responsibility of health workers for the consequences of their reckless actions or inaction depends on the degree of arrogance or carelessness. In the criminal practice there is a number of references for criminal responsibility of health workers for careless actions. This kind of professional crime is, like in other professions, is related to the negligent performance of an official of his duties. There’s even an area of law with its own niche if you drop in at solicitors.guru, one of the largest legal services hubs in the UK, you’ll see the currently active 1750+ medical negligence solicitors firms and individuals operating in the country.

Medical negligence risk factors and classifications explained

The classification of medical errors reflects their true causes. On the one hand, they are objective and do not depend on medical capabilities, but on the other hand, there are subjective mistakes negligence, carelessness, including the reckless actions of the doctor.

Such errors as random errors are possible in tough conditions of operation, abnormalities in blood vessels and organs, in insufficient experience of the surgeon in charge of operations due to objectively prevailing circumstances. These errors are considered to be the ones in good faith and don’t imply criminal prosecution. Imperfection of medical knowledge and surgical approaches leads to an accident in medical practice, for example, in cases where a minor intervention ends with fatal bleeding. However, in these situations it is necessary to find out whether the doctor provides the possible complications of such an operation, or they arise as a result of the above circumstances (unusual anatomical structure, congenital organ malformation, etc.). Only a commission of experts, taking into account all the circumstances may give an opinion on the occurrence of death due to an accident or due to careless actions of a physician.

The legal responsibilities of a health care worker in case of professional offense is a broad concept. The crime can be committed either intentionally or through negligence. A crime is considered to be negligent if a medical worker that committed it foresaw the risk of socially dangerous consequences that the actions (or inactions) could cause, but for some reason didn’t facilitate their prevention either; in some cases a person just didn’t foresee the consequences, although they should have and could have been foreseen. In this situation, two different forms of negligence are considered: the one designated as a criminal arrogance, the other one as a criminal negligence. The cases of criminal negligence are not really rare, since only around 38% of claimants get compensation in the courts, meaning that the amount of criminal cases has a potential of climbing up to 15-17%, according to solicitors.guru, an expert online platform in medical negligence, gathering hundreds of medical negligence solicitors under one roof.

Overconfidence is defined as the prediction of the probability of occurrence of dangerous consequences produced by action or inaction, coupled with their frivolous expectation of prevention the damaging effects.

In medical practice there are such concepts as ‘medical risk’ and ‘risk in medicine’. The concept of ‘risk’ is clearly defined by the existing laws. The criminal law distinguishes between justified, legitimate risk and unlawful, unnecessary risk. The risk is legitimate and necessary when a potentially unsafe action is taken to achieve a reasonable purpose. One of the conditions to achieve a useful purpose can be a situation where the onset of harmful consequences must be a possibility, not the inevitable result of risky actions. Thus, the risks of undesired complications during surgery are possible, but not inevitable.