Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline doctors, nurses, and support staff have worked tirelessly to treat critically ill patients with coronavirus.
However, the focus on the virus has caused huge disruption to healthcare services across Florida, with millions of patients with other serious conditions experiencing delays in treatment.
The strain COVID-19 has put on the hospitals has led to an increase in medical malpractice lawsuits. Surges in COVID-19 cases correlate with medical malpractice claims from people 70 and older, according to recent data.
Pandemic-related lawsuits made up 3,12% of the medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida. There are several reasons why people could follow suit, but claims are often linked to the pandemic's impact on hospitals. The types of pandemic-related medical malpractice claims include percentage-wise claims for:
- Death 19%
- Misdiagnosis 17,9%
- Disease progression 16,4%
- Delay in treatment 4,5%
- Refusal of treatment 1,5%
During the peak of COVID-19:
- Most of the routine or elective surgery was stopped
- Many outpatient appointments and referrals were delayed
- Screening and tests for medical conditions were paused or canceled
As they were placed under a lot of stress, the hospital systems made more mistakes. Although it's circumstantial and it's not really the hospitals' fault, people are suffering from this. Here are some examples of negligence and issues with understaffing:
- A victim was taking medicine that made them drowsy, so they needed help using the restroom. The hospital was understaffed, there wasn't anyone to help and she had to go to the restroom by herself. Thus, she fell and broke her hip. Usually, that wouldn't happen in normal circumstances because the staff would be able to help her.
- In some cases, patients suffered drug allergy reactions because they were given the wrong medications. That happened most often in the ER because it becomes very messy when there are a lot of people coming in. When there are a lot of medical records open, sometimes medical professionals may give the wrong medication to the wrong patient.
- There were also reports of hospitals hiring less experienced people or medical staff who then failed to follow the correct guidelines.
You can really suffer from medical malpractice, and you should be compensated. Sometimes it could even result in death. According to Florida laws, there is a two-year statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases. If you believe you're a victim, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, because it takes time to gather the information needed to build a case.
Impact of Delayed Treatment During COVID-19
Delays to medical treatment due to COVID-19 could lead to a significant impact on patient safety, causing:
- Severe pain and suffering
- Avoidable harm
- A risk to people's lives
Widespread disruptions of healthcare services have severely affected patients with a wide range of potentially life-threatening conditions that include:
- Lung cancer
- Bowel cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes and diabetes-related complications
- Chronic kidney disease
- Respiratory disease
- Liver disease
- Many orthopedic patients on waiting lists for hip and knee surgery have found their essential treatment canceled or delayed due to the pandemic.
- Studies reported up to 50% declines in the number of ST-elevation acute myocardial infarctions interventions, acute myocardial infarctions hospitalizations, and aortic dissections in the US during the pandemic.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Vaccine Safety Datalink has reported an almost 50% drop in the number of measles vaccinations during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2019
Understandably, these have worried patients and their families. Many patients' health deteriorated and they now face a far worse prognosis due to the cancellation of treatment due to COVID-19 or treatment delays.
How Can a Miami Medical Malpractice Attorney Help With Your Claim?
In medical liability cases, the test is always:
- Did the hospital comply with the standard of care?
- Did it act like a reasonably prudent provider would act under the same or similar circumstances?
However, in the era of modern medicine, we've never faced the same or similar circumstances with a pandemic like this. Therefore, what the law will ultimately define as reasonable health care services that met the standard of care is evolving. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have extensive knowledge of Florida and federal laws that apply to medical malpractice cases.
If you, or a loved one, suffered harm because of the willful misconduct of another or gross negligence, we can review the circumstances of your situation. We can help you determine whether you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Our Miami medical malpractice lawyer is prepared to thoroughly investigate the harm you suffered, including any contributing factors that may apply.
- We provide a free consultation to discuss your potential claim
- This consultation imposes no obligation to proceed
- We charge no upfront costs
- There are no fees to pay unless and until we achieve a recovery on your behalf
We remain open and continue to provide legal services during the pandemic. Our law firm has the means to process new claims and manage existing cases through various secure methods, without the need for an in-person meeting.