Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are risking their lives when treating coronavirus patients and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, not all doctors and hospitals adhere to accepted standards of care when coping with a surge in COVID-19 patients during the pandemic. As providers are likely to make medical errors and cause harm to patients during these unprecedented times, can you sue a negligent doctor or hospital for medical malpractice during the coronavirus crisis?
Types of Medical Errors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
When you go to a hospital, you certainly expect your doctors to know what they are doing and adhere to the highest standards of care. However, medical errors are more likely to happen when many hospitals in Kentucky and across the U.S. are overwhelmed with patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Can a hospital be held accountable for the harm caused to patients while diagnosing or treating COVID-19? Whether or not you can file a medical malpractice claim depends on the type of the alleged negligence or carelessness, the circumstances surrounding your case, and the state where the alleged malpractice occurred.
Medical errors during the coronavirus pandemic include but are not limited to:
- Failure to diagnose correctly
- COVID-19 misdiagnosis
- Failure to provide appropriate treatment
- Failure to order or administer a coronavirus test in a timely manner
- Failure to ensure sanitary and sterile conditions in the hospital
- Failure to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to staff
- Failure to prevent the spread of coronavirus
Can You Sue for COVID-19 Medical Malpractice in Kentucky?
Back in March, a report by Business Insider predicted that the coronavirus crisis could result in a surge in medical malpractice suits across the nation. According to the report, whether or not a coronavirus patient can sue for medical malpractice that was committed during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on the existence of state or federal legislation that makes healthcare providers immune from liability claims.
Many states, including Kentucky, have already provided legal protections to hospitals and healthcare providers during the coronavirus crisis. Governor Beshear signed into law a coronavirus relief bill that states “Healthcare providers during the COVID-19 emergency have a defense to civil liability if they act in good faith and if the health care provider acts as an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent health care provider would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.” While hospitals and legislators are pushing for civil immunity to protect healthcare providers from liability during these unprecedented times, attorneys still anticipate medical malpractice lawsuits. After all, injured coronavirus patients may still be able to sue hospitals and doctors for reckless conduct and gross misconduct. Nonetheless, providing legal protections to healthcare providers could leave many victims of malpractice with little to no legal recourse.
Medical malpractice attorneys are unlikely to bring lawsuits that involve injuries and illnesses unrelated to COVID-19, as most states suspended all non-essential and elective surgeries and medical procedures during the coronavirus crisis. However, delaying surgeries or procedures for weeks on end could cause complications, which is why affected patients may be considering their options to sue, too.
So, can you sue a healthcare provider for coronavirus medical malpractice in Kentucky? At this point, the answer is probably yes, but protections that were provided to hospitals and doctors remains unclear. Speak with a Lexington medical malpractice lawyer to determine whether you can file a COVID-19 malpractice lawsuit in your particular situation. Contact Roberts Law Office to receive a case review. Call at (859) 231-0202.