In 1999, the pivotal report “To Err is Human” by the Institute of Medicine led to sweeping changes in healthcare. This report outlined how blaming individuals does not change the underlying factors that contribute to medical errors. It also stated that blaming an individual does little to make the system safer – or prevent someone else from similar errors.
It is unusual for a nurse to be charged criminally, when there is no intent to harm a patient. However, the recent trial in America of nurse RaDonda Vaught could set a precedent for future medical errors to be treated as criminal cases. The case may ensure that for every step that has been taken forward in patient safety, we have now taken two steps backwards. This article from Human Factors 101 looks at the case of RaDonda Vaught, the criminal trial and conviction, and discusses the impact this will have on healthcare.
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