Medical accountability and the criminal law: New Zealand vs the world

Health Care Analysis 4 (1):45-54 (1996)
There can be no disputing the proposition that doctors and nurses should be held accountable for their professional activities. In most circumstances this accountability should be achieved through appropriate and effective complaints and disciplinary procedures, but there will be cases where the criminal law should become involved. The criminal law, however, is a serious weapon, and should only be used to punish those whose conduct is truly criminal; it should not be used against those who have merely made a human error. The task of the law should therefore be to identify those situations where a doctor or nurse has behaved in a way which demonstrates a criminally culpable state of mind. In NZ recently the law has failed to do this and has been used as a weapon against those who may be in no sense morally blameworthy. In New Zealand recently the law has failed to do this and has been used as a weapon against those who may be in no sense morally blameworthy. In this respect, NZ has been out of step with other comparable jurisdictions and has demonstrably failed to distinguish between cases where death is caused accidentally (through the making of an ordinary human error) and cases where it is caused criminally (through recklessness or culpable negligence). This is a surprising situation in a jurisdiction which has prided itself on its willingness to adopt a reformist legal agenda.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 38,113
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

When Are Errors a Crime?–Lessons From New Zealand'.A. F. Merry - 2007 - In Charles A. Erin & Suzanne Ost (eds.), The Criminal Justice System and Health Care. Oxford University Press.
Accountability in International Development Aid.Leif Wenar - 2006 - Ethics and International Affairs 20 (1):1–23.
Behind Closed Doors: Accountability and Responsibility in Patient Care.Virginia A. Sharpe - 2000 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 25 (1):28 – 47.


Added to PP index

Total views
7 ( #685,880 of 2,313,478 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #549,066 of 2,313,478 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature