Criminal and Contract Law in the Healthcare Sector Essay
Criminal law is highly applicable in the healthcare sector chiefly because the healthcare professionals are in charge of the safety and lives of their clients. As a result, the actions taken by healthcare professionals can either have a positive or a negative impact on the lives of patients. It is therefore important for healthcare professionals to enter into a contract with their clients. A contract would not only protect the clients from harm but would also protect the healthcare professionals from any outcome resulting from negligence or violations of the contract on the part of the client. Maurer and Smith (2004) argue that, the purpose of a written contract is to provide evidence of what the parties are mutually agreeing to do, (p.132).
Violations of the criminal law by healthcare professionals are quite common in healthcare organizations. A good example of a healthcare professional who believes that his/her opinion concerning the value of a clients life is more important and therefore decides to accelerate the death of a client suffering from a chronic illness. This action is considered by law to be equal to murder and is therefore a felony. Other laws that are applicable to healthcare professionals include laws that protect the vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly and the disabled. Healthcare professionals who and professional contracts are subject to punishment either by the state board of healthcare professionals or by the state/federal government depending on the nature and severity of the offense committed (Maurer and Smith, 2004).
by healthcare professionals such as mercy killing, incorrect diagnosis and negligent subscription of drugs can be grounds for the suspension or revocation of a healthcare professionals license. In addition, because the healthcare professionals are in a delicate situation in which they can easily have an effect on the safety and health of their clients, they are required to conform to acceptable and healthy personal habits and abstain from harmful habits such as substance abuse. Healthcare professionals who engage in such a habit risk having their licenses suspended until they rectify their habits. Apart from license suspension/revocation, other punishments imposed on healthcare professionals include fines, imprisonment, parole and the loss of professional privileges such as promotion (Maurer and Smith, 2004). It is therefore important for healthcare professionals to conform to the criminal laws and the terms and conditions of their contracts.