Hospitals refuse cooperation with public prosecutor because they are afraid

Doctors and hospital staff often obstruct investigations by the public prosecutor into medical mistakes out of misplaced fear, according to public prosecutor Marjolein van Eykelen in the Telegraaf.

The public prosecutor, who specialises in medical cases, was speaking at a congress on patient safety organised by government party VVD in parliament.

According to Van Eykelen, fear of prosecution hampers the course of justice. A lack of openness can even lead to victims of medical mistakes being unable to claim compensation, she said.

The latest example is the new duty for a doctor to call in a forensic specialist where an under-age patient dies. ‘This does not happen in half of cases,’ Van Eykelen told the congress.

The public prosecutor said her team receives around a hundred cases a year. Only a handful of these lead to prosecutions, but hospitals refuse in almost all cases to provide medical information.