Consequences of a criminal conviction on health care professionals

            When we are talking about or making decisions about health, we usually are very careful because we what we are dealing is life, and it is a very sensitive possession. When we’re sick or having an emergency where life and death becomes a dilemma, we only seeks the professional health and we only go to credible hospitals. When the news about a troubled broke out on TV, with some details about what will happen to them, the ability of hospitals to protect our health becomes questionable (www.californiahealthline.org).

            The issue or the news stated above is about the negligence of actions seen on surveillance camera that results on the death of a 43-year old mother, Edith Isabel Rodriguez on Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital (Marquez). According to Marquez, nurses only pass by while the old mother is suffering from the pain brought by her stomachache. Janitors are just neglecting her and they only waited for the policemen to arrive and so she died eventually. His boyfriend who speaks Spanish pleaded for nurses but nurses only said that there’s nothing to worry. The consequence of that incident is that the hospital is warned that they are possibly be closed and not be funded anymore and file charges on the nurses and attendants found guilty in the investigation done and through the aid of the surveillance camera (Marquez, www.californiaheathline.org).

            Before exploring much further on the incident, we must first need to review some information about the law, specifically the difference between misdemeanor and felonies. The two are kinds of crime. Their basic difference is the degree of offense or how the crime affected some entity. Misdemeanors are less serious offence than the damage or offense done by the felonies. Crime such as public drunkenness is a minor offense so it can be classified as misdemeanor. On the other hand, take kidnapping for example, it is much serious than public drunkenness so it is classified as felony. However, there are crimes that maybe classified as either of the two according to the intensity. Stealing for example maybe misdemeanor if the involved property is not so valuable or worthy; but if it is, then it becomes a felony. Since they differ in degree, the corresponding punishments also are different. It can be seen in either the length of the sentence or the place where person found guilty is incarcerated. If the crime is misdemeanor, it is only sentenced for less than a year. Sentence that exceeds a year is applied when the crime is felony. Also, when the crime is misdemeanor, they only suffer on jails, but if it is felony, they are sent to state prisons (www.abanet.org).

            Taking back our discussion to the case of the Martin Luther King Jr.–Harbor Hospital, now we can further make discussions about what may happen to health care professionals when convicted with a criminal accuses. According to some Medical Laws, penalties that concerns the transfer and the render of treatment for a patient is not more than 50,000 dollars for hospitals with more than 100 beds and 25,000 dollars for hospitals with less than a hundred beds (www.medlaw.com). The case of the hospital stated above has violated many of the provisions of patients’ transfer and negligence issues. That is why they are facing the consequence of being closed and some charges on their health care officials. Their case also has some conflict with the Health Care Proxy Law which allows other in making moves or acts if the patient is unable to do that (mole.health.state.ny.us). If we look at the previous scenario, we can see that Mrs. Rodriquez is alone, it is only after some time that his boyfriend arrived, and so no one is really making acts on the side of the health care professionals and even the publics that may be are present there. Thus, this simple thing is a violation of the law.

            The bottom line here is that many things after this incident may affect many sectors. First, let us examine what might happen on the hospital. Since they are found guilty of many criminal convictions, they are subjected probably to be closed and some personnel faced charges. They can even lose license if the offense is found to be deserving with that punishment. If this happen, then it is still the people that will carry over the consequences. If the said hospital is to be closed, then patients that go here will need to go to other hospitals. It is just alright if the demand is equal to supply and that there are enough federal hospitals, but it isn’t the case. Worse, many other hospitals have shortage especially on emergency situations. The next thing is even a worse than this. This is the trade-off of the incident: members of the public might lose their trust on the capability of our health workers funded by the government to perform or render health services especially in emergency situations. If they have known of some criminal convictions on a particular hospital, then they are less likely to risk their wellness on the hands of its personnel.

            Truly, out life matters, certainly. We must still be thankful that there are efforts that deal with the protection of this very treasured thing of us.

Reference

American Bar Association. What distinguishes a misdemeanor from a felony? Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://www.abanet.org/publiced/practical/criminal/ misdemeanor_felony.html.

Los Angeles Country Officials Mull Options for Troubled Hospital. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2007/6/25/Los-Angeles-County-Officials-Mull-Options-for-Troubled-Hospital.aspx.

Marquez, Jeremiah. Troubled LA hospital could lose license after woman dies on emergency room floor. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://www.statesboroherald.com/news/ archive/4291/.

Medlaw.com. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://www.medlaw.com/healthlaw /EMTALA/statute/emergency-medical-treatme.shtml.

Understanding the Basics. Retrieved July 11, 2007 from http://mole.health.state.ny.us/ regulations/task_force/health_care_proxy/guidebook/understand_basics.htm.

 

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