When Medical Malpractice Becomes a Criminal Offense
July 18, 2019
Devastating Consequence of Medical Malpractice
Back in 2013, a patient overdosed on his prescription pain killers, which prompted an investigation into Dr. Nibedita Mohanty. It didn’t take long for investigators to uncover a deep, criminal web of medical malpractice that ultimately led to the victim’s death.
According to investigators, Dr. Mohanty was running a “pill mill.” She intentionally over-prescribed medications and reportedly took bribes of $250 to prescribe anything the patient wanted. She was charged with felony distribution of narcotics, obtaining money by false pretenses and involuntary manslaughter.
What’s the difference between a medical malpractice claim and criminal charges? At what point does a doctor’s negligence become criminal? What’s healthcare fraud? The answers and more are all below.
Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice typically occurs when a doctor’s level of care is substandard. They fail to reach the standard of care a similar doctor would’ve reasonable provided, and this act results in an injury. When a victim is injured by the negligence, they have legal recourse. It’s possible to sue the doctor in civil court for your personal injuries. In extreme cases, patients can even collect additional punitive damages.
When is Medical Malpractice a Crime?
In most cases, a doctor’s negligence isn’t considered criminal. There are situations, however, that cross the line. Criminal charges are usually reserved for doctors who have acted without regard to human life, extremely recklessly, without a license or committed other crimes during their course of practice. Here’s a list of the most common actions that would constitute a medical malpractice claim:
• Sexual assault
• Gross negligence manslaughter
• Drug use
Sadly, doctors who are convicted of crimes do not automatically lose their licenses. Experts estimate that there are around 1,067 registered doctors across the nation who have been convicted of crimes and still practice medicine.
Healthcare fraud is a type of crime in which the doctor performs unnecessary medical procedures on a patient in order to receive additional money from insurance companies. When an unnecessary procedure or surgery is performed on the patient, an injury may ensue. Unfortunately, the patient may never even realize that their treatments were unnecessary. If tests were ordered due to inadequate training, then criminal charges won’t be considered healthcare fraud.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Medical Malpractice Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Quinn Logue LLC, are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and Scranton. Call us today at (412) 765-3800 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 200 First Ave., 3rd Floor, Pittsburgh 15222 and we also have offices in Scranton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.