Criminal negligence exists where a physician or surgeon, or person assuming to act as such, exhibits gross lack of competency, gross inattention, or criminal indifference to the patient's safety.
Defendants, chiropractic physicians, treated a tuberculosis patient with a regimen that was not medically approved treatment for his condition. Following the patient's death defendants were convicted of manslaughter for having caused his death through culpable negligence. Defendants' motions for new trials were denied, and they appealed.
Was the trial court correct in denying the defendants’ motions for new trials on the issue of criminal negligence?
From the evidence the jury could—and did—conclude that the treatment used by the physicians advanced the patient’s tuberculosis rather than treating it, and that the jury’s weight of the evidence led them to believe this amounted to criminal negligence. The evidence adequately supports the verdicts and judgments against the appellants.