Medical negligence to become felony
Healthcare Minister Ab Klink submitted a plan including tougher punishment for healthcare negligence.
THE HAGUE—Doctors who damage the health of patients will face harsher punishment in the future. The Healthcare Inspector (IGZ) will soon be able to force alternative medical practitioners to close shop.
Minister Ab Klink (Healthcare) sent a proposal to the House of Representatives Monday that could make this a reality. Currently, harming the health of a patient is a misdemeanor, with a maximum prison sentence of three months and a fine of 3700 euros.
The Minister wants to make it into a felony comparable with abuse and murder, or serious bodily harm resulting from negligence. Such offenders can receive a maximum punishment of up to nine years in prison or 74,000 euros.
According to current law, the inspector can only act against traditional doctors, something the Minister called a "grave oversight." He gave the example of the deceased Dutch actress Sylvia Mellecam, who followed the advice of alternative practitioners telling her to avoid the medical treatment for breast cancer that would have saved her life. He also gave the example of Medical Centre Maria Magdalena in Roosendaal that advised a patient to terminate chemotherapy. She has since died.
Klink took issue with the misuse of the term “medical,” which can mislead patients into believing that a clinic offers standard medical care, when in actuality it is an alternative practice. A ban on other misleading claims will also be enacted.
Radio Netherlands/ANP/Lila Lundquist/Expatica