KY Grants Criminal Immunity To Healthcare Workers For Medical Mistakes

1 Min Read Published April 17, 2024
KY Grants Criminal Immunity To Healthcare Workers For Medical Mistakes

Kentucky has passed a groundbreaking new law that grants criminal immunity to healthcare providers for unintentional medical errors. House Bill 159, which received unanimous support from both the Kentucky House and Senate, shields nurses, doctors, and other medical staff from facing criminal charges for mistakes made in good faith as they navigate complex patient care situations.

The bill was signed by Governor Beshear on March 26, 2024. 

Nursing Groups Applaud the Move

The bill has received widespread support from nursing organizations and advocacy groups, who argue that the fear of criminal charges has been a deterrent for many considering a career in healthcare. By providing legal protection, the bill could make the profession more appealing and help address staffing shortages.

The Kentucky Nurse’s Association’s press release congratulated nurses on getting the bill signed, “Thank you for the calls, texts and emails you sent to both representatives and senators to get this bill through the system and ready to become a Kentucky law.  This bill, HB159, will prevent healthcare professionals from being charged criminally for making a medical error, that makes it good for nurses and nursing and puts Kentucky at the forefront of developing laws to protect healthcare workers.

YOU were an advocate for nurses and nursing issues and YOU made the difference!  Thank you.”

Nurse Erica took to social media to announce the bill and congratulate nurses on it’s passing. 

@the.nurse.erica Major victory for the nursing profession! #fyp #foryoupage #nurse #kentucky #newsfornurses #thenurseerica #nurseerica @Kentucky Nurses Association ♬ original sound - TheNurseErica

Safeguards and Limitations

While the bill grants immunity for unintentional errors, it does not provide a blanket protection for healthcare workers. Gross negligence, willful misconduct, and intentional harm are still subject to criminal charges. Additionally, the bill does not impact civil liability, meaning patients can still pursue legal action for medical malpractice.

As Kentucky takes this bold step, the nation will be watching closely to gauge the impact of this groundbreaking legislation on the healthcare industry and the well-being of both providers and patients.

Angelina Walker
Angelina Walker
Director of Nursing Content and Social Media

Angelina has her finger on the pulse of everything nursing. Whether it's a trending news topic, valuable resource or, heartfelt story, Angelina is an expert at producing content that nurses love to read. She specializes in warmly engaging with the nursing community and exponentially growing our social presence.

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