Nurses, like any other healthcare professionals, can potentially face criminal prosecution for mistakes they make if those mistakes involve gross negligence or recklessness that results in harm to a patient. While honest errors or minor mistakes are generally addressed through professional disciplinary processes, more serious lapses that breach the standard of care may lead to legal consequences. As noted in this YouTube video, a case for a nurse criminal defense hearing is rare overall, but it can happen.
Criminal charges against nurses typically arise in cases where their actions or omissions demonstrate a willful disregard for patient safety. For instance, administering the wrong medication due to negligence might result in criminal liability if it leads to severe harm or death.
However, it’s important to note that criminal prosecution is not the norm for most medical errors, as the legal system generally recognizes the complex and challenging nature of healthcare.
In many cases, disciplinary actions, such as license suspension or revocation, are more common outcomes for a nurse criminal defense case. The legal system seeks a balance between accountability for severe lapses and acknowledging that healthcare professionals, including nurses, operate in high-pressure environments where errors can occur despite their best efforts. Ultimately, criminal prosecution for mistakes in nursing is contingent on the severity of the error and its consequences for patient safety.