Florida Health Care Groups Seek Immunity Against Medical Malpractice
The coronavirus has quickly spread across the country. Florida has had more than 44,000 confirmed cases. More than 1,800 people have died in the state. Despite these statistics, South Florida recently opened up, and barber shops and gyms are now open for business.
This means that many more COVID-19 cases could pop up in the weeks and months to come. This has health care workers concerned. What happens when hospitals fill up with patients? If patients die or their conditions worsen, are nurses and doctors on the hook? Will patients be able to file medical malpractice lawsuits?
Health care workers in Florida are asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to step in and protect them from lawsuits that could threaten their careers. Various hospital, physician and nursing home associations throughout the state have asked the governor to issue executive orders to protect workers so they don’t get sued for things they did or did not do while treating coronavirus patients. Various groups sent a letter to the governor, including The Florida Hospital Association, Florida Nurses Association, the Florida Nurse Practitioners Network, the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists, Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
An executive order respects what health care workers are doing and sends a message that they should not be sued for any liability issues relating to the way they handled the coronavirus crisis. It would also provide sovereign immunity protections for certain doctors and amend sections of the state’s “Good Samaritan Act.”
Nursing homes are also concerned about being sued for medical malpractice. They are seeking protection in case they are sued for violating nursing home residents’ rights. However, it is likely that nursing homes won’t be shielded from such lawsuits because of the court system. If providers are not held accountable for their actions, they become less responsible.
Other States Taking Action
While Florida may not be supporting its health care workers, many states are taking action to offer protections. Governors in New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, Connecticut, Kentucky, Vermont, New Hampshire and Wisconsin have protections in place so doctors cannot be sued during the pandemic. In addition, Illinois, Arkansas, Arizona, New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Jersey, Michigan and Wisconsin have executive orders in place limiting nursing home lawsuits.
Florida, however, has never been quick to protect health care workers against lawsuits. It’s been a controversial issue in the state for many years. Medical malpractice protections have been shot down several times—most notably, in 2014 and 2017, when the Florida Supreme Court failed to approve limits on non-economic damages.
Seek Help for Your Medical Malpractice Claim
If you or a loved one received inadequate care for COVID-19, it will be difficult to receive compensation for your damages. Many states have provided immunity for health care workers, given that this is an unprecedented situation.
If you have been harmed by a medical professional, get help from the Dade City & Zephyrhills medical malpractice lawyers at Mander Law Group. We can assess your situation and help you understand your options. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (800) 557-0411 today.