Court Discusses Immunity for the Treatment of COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland and other jurisdictions issued orders and laws impacting healthcare provider liability. While many of the orders and laws are no longer in effect, their ramifications are still present, as they can operate to bar medical malpractice claims. This was demonstrated recently when a court dismissed a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim arising out of the negligent treatment of COVID-19 in a patient who later passed away. If you lost a loved one or sustained injuries because of inadequate medical treatment, it is in your best interest to confer with a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer about what damages you may be able to recover.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the decedent was admitted to the defendant’s hospital for the treatment of asthma. She was on dialysis at the time as well. She was tested for COVID-19 upon admission, and her test results were negative. During her stay, however, she was placed in a room with a patient being treated for COVID-19. The decedent tested positive for COVID-19 shortly thereafter. She declined rapidly and was placed on a ventilator. Sadly, she succumbed to the illness; her cause of death was listed as pneumonia and COVID-19.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the defendant on behalf of the decedent’s estate. In her complaint she asserted a single count of medical malpractice, in which she alleged the defendant’s negligence in exposing the decedent to COVID-19 and failing to provide her with adequate care caused her death. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on the grounds that they were immune pursuant to COVID-19 laws in effect at the time of the decedent’s care.

Immunity for Medical Malpractice Claims Arising from the Treatment of COVID-19

The court granted the defendant’s motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims without prejudice. The court explained that at the time of the decedent’s death, health care providers treating COVID-19 had broad civil immunity. Specifically, the applicable law stated that they were exempt from liability for damages resulting from the treatment of COVID-19 or failing to arrange or provide such treatment.

The court elaborated, however, that the immunity only applied to claims arising out of negligent acts. In other words, providers could be held liable for harm caused by gross negligence, actual malice, and recklessness. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff merely asserted ordinary negligence claims against the defendant. Thus, her claims were dimissed.

Speak to Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Although the law provides health care providers immunity in certain circumstances, people harmed by negligent medical care can typically seek compensation via medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one were injured because of the recklessness of a doctor, you might be owed damages, and you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The trusted Maryland attorneys of Arfaa Law are proficient at providing the liability of incompetent health care providers, and if you hire us, we will zealously pursue the maximum recovery available under the law.  You can contact us by calling us at (410) 889-1850 or using our form online to set up a conference.

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