The United States--and the world at large--is in the midst of a period of uncertainty thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are experiencing firsthand an unprecedented time filled with new challenges which are being addressed in unique ways. From delays in elective surgeries to immunity for volunteer healthcare workers, the outbreak of COVID-19 is being handled in a way that we have never seen before.
With the recommendation to delay non-essential surgeries and routine doctor's visits, lawsuits based on medical malpractice are almost certainly lurking in the shadows. These cases, however, may be more difficult to win than the average medical malpractice case due to the unique circumstances and novel solutions that COVID-19 has created.
Immunity for Healthcare Providers
Due to fears that healthcare providers who are trying all that is possible to keep COVID-19 victims alive will be blamed for deaths, some states are putting protections in place. In New York--the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States--Governor Cuomo has issued an order granting immunity to all healthcare workers who are helping with the COVID-19 crisis, including those who are retired our licensed out of state. This immunity could reach a national level if a newly-introduced bill is approved by Congress. The bill aims to grant immunity to healthcare providers who are assisting in treatment which is outside of their specialties and would last for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
This temporary immunity would throw a wrench in plans for those who have been injured in the COVID-19 crisis to bring legal action against a healthcare provider.
Standard of Care in COVID-19 Cases
Due to the shortage of medical supplies and resources caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, proving negligence in a COVID-19 case may be more difficult than an ordinary medical malpractice case. In an ordinary situation, a doctor's actions would be based on an established "medical standard of care." In other words, a doctor's alleged medical malpractice would be considered based on what an ordinary, prudent healthcare professional would do under similar circumstances when facing the same circumstances.
The problem with the COVID-19 pandemic, however, is that the efforts to keep the virus from spreading have delayed non-essential appointments and surgeries. These delays aren't necessarily coming from healthcare workers themselves, but rather the offices and hospital systems for which they work. This means that proving medical malpractice stemming from issues that worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic may be difficult to litigate.
Injured During the COVID-19 Pandemic? We're Here to Help
While we are experiencing a period of great uncertainty, one thing remains clear--if you have suffered injuries stemming from care provided by a healthcare worker, in the Philadelphia area, it's critical to speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Even in a unique time like this, the team of medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian are standing by to assist those who believe that they may have a claim. We are committed to providing you with the quality representation you need to obtain the justice you deserve. To speak with a member of our legal team about your injuries, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.