Homicide ruling in ED may have chilling effect

April 2007
Healthcare Risk Management;Apr2007, Vol. 29 Issue 4, p43
Local authorities have ruled a patient's death in a hospital emergency department a homicide because of a long wait for treatment. Although no criminal charges followed the ruling, it still might have a significant impact on health care workers. • The homicide ruling could interfere with risk managers' efforts to have staff speak freely about patient safety. • Criminal charges would be hard to prove in such an incident. • Risk managers should explain to staff that such a homicide ruling is highly unusual.


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