Statement from IHI and LLI About the Risks to Patient Safety When Medical Errors Are Criminalized

​March 30, 2022

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and the IHI Lucian Leape Institute (LLI) lament the tragic death of a patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in late 2017 after a medication error and extend our sympathies to the family who suffered this loss. This event demonstrates the inherent and serious risks involved in patient care. It also demonstrates the ever-present need for effective, reliable, and resilient systems, and professional accountability for ensuring patient safety. The decision to criminally charge the nurse who administered the wrong medication with reckless homicide and impaired adult abuse is not a remedy. Criminalization of medical errors makes patients less safe.

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Related Information

IHI Community Roundtable Recordings (April 2022)

In the spirit of community and improvement, IHI convened an expert panel of industry leaders for two virtual roundtable-style discussions, moderated by IHI President and CEO Kedar Mate, MD.

Download the IHI Community Roundtable recordings


Criminalization of Medical Errors and RaDonda Vaught Sentencing

  • Letter to Judge Smith (May 5, 2022): In advance of the sentencing of RaDonda Vaught, leaders from IHI and the IHI Lucian Leape Institute sent a letter to Judge Smith, articulating their views about the criminalization of medical errors, based on decades of experience and maturation of the sciences that underlie safety.
  • Statement from IHI and LLI: RaDonda Vaught Sentencing (May 13, 2022)