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Medication Errors and Criminal Negligence: Lessons from Two Cases

      Health-care professionals who make serious errors may be subject to criminal prosecution for criminal negligence. In recent years, many states have expanded the concept of criminal negligence to the extent that health-care providers may have difficulty fully understanding what conduct could subject them to criminal prosecution.This article presents two cases in which nurses were prosecuted for criminal negligence related to medication errors. It explores the evolving concept of criminal negligence, discusses the role of systemic and interdisciplinary factors in medical errors, and explores the collateral consequences of criminal prosecution.
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      References

      1. 42 C.F.R. § 424.530(a)(3). Denial of Enrollment.

      2. 42 C.F.R. § 424.535. Revocation of Enrollment and Billing Privileges in the Medicare Program.

      3. C.R.S. § 12-38-117. Grounds for Discipline.

      4. C.R.S. § 18-3-105. Criminally Negligent Homicide.

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      5. State v. Bodoh, 226 Wis. 2d 718, ¶ 26, 595 N.W.2d 330 (1999).

      6. State v. Schutte, 2006 WI App 135, ¶ 29, 295 Wis. 2d 256, 720 N.W.2d 469 (2006).

      7. State ex rel. Zent v. Yanny, 244 Wis. 342, 347, 12 N.W.2d 45 (1943).

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      8. Wis. Admin. Code N § 7.04: Misconduct or Unprofessional Conduct.

      9. Wis. Stat. § 655.27. Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund.

      10. Wis. Stat. § 939 25(1). Criminal Negligence.