Legal Remedies for Patients Harmed by Unsafe Injection Practices

“Law as a Tool to Promote Healthcare Safety,” an article recently published in Clinical Governance: An International Journal, discusses how the legal system can punish health-care providers who engage in unsafe injection practices, and deter them, and others, from putting future patients at risk.

As we wrote in our blog “Safe Injection Practices Are not a Shot in the Dark,” tens of thousands of people are harmed every year from infections caused by sloppy injection procedures that are completely preventable, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has addressed.

Practices that compromise patient safety include using needles on more than one person, using single-dose or single-use medications for more than one patient and failing to use proper hygiene when handling, preparing and storing meds and injection.

The Clinical Governance paper reviewed legal theory and precedents, and identified several ways, from the administrative to the criminal, in which the law can address disputes about unsafe injection practices, including:

  • holding doctors or facilities responsible for preventing harms;
  • using state civil courts in malpractice lawsuits to compensate victims for the harms they suffer;
  • prosecuting defendants as criminals in order to deter practices that cause disability or death.

To review guidelines for safe injection practices devised by the CDC, link here.

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