Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on a Health Care Provider’s Medical Malpractice Liability

The COVID-19 pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of life throughout Maryland, including the process of seeking and obtaining medical treatment. As many states have issued orders limiting or eliminating liability for medical professionals, people throughout Maryland may be uncertain regarding their rights to pursue medical malpractice claims against a healthcare provider following negligent treatment during the pandemic. Currently, however, the orders and acts that apply to Maryland largely protect the rights of people injured by medical malpractice to pursue claims for inadequate treatment of COVID-19. If you or loved one sustained damages due to incompetent medical care, it is advisable to consult a skillful Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

Liability of Healthcare Providers Treating COVID-19 in Maryland

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act limits the liability for healthcare providers working as volunteers during the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the CARES Act precludes liability for any harm sustained when the professional is providing services that relate to the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID-19, or the care or assessment of the health of a person suspected of having COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, however, in which the provider may be held liable. For example, a provider may be held liable for treating a patient while intoxicated and for criminal misconduct or gross negligence. It is important to note, however, that the CARES Act only limits the liability of volunteers, which is explicitly defined as healthcare providers that are not being compensated for their services.

Unlike some other states, none of the orders issued by Maryland’s governor preclude liability for the negligence of healthcare providers treating people during the COVID-19 pandemic. An executive order issued on March 16, 2020, however, does allow practitioners licensed in other states and practitioners with inactive licenses to provide medical care during the state of emergency.

Proving Liability for Medical Malpractice Under Maryland Law

Regardless of whether the harm caused by a medical professional in Maryland occurs during a pandemic or any other time, a patient injured by inadequate medical care must prove that the treating provider had a duty to provide care that met the applicable standard, but that the provider departed from the standard of care. The patient must also prove that the departure caused the patient to suffer actual harm. The standard of care that applies is the care that a competent practitioner, practicing in the same specialty, with similar training and skills, would provide in a similar situation. In cases arising out of treatment rendered during the COVID-19 pandemic, an issue may arise as to what standard of care applies for out of state or inactive practitioners providing treatment in Maryland.

Confer with a Capable Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you suffered harm due to insufficient treatment rendered by a healthcare provider, it is in your best interest to confer with a capable Maryland medical malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be owed for your harm. The dedicated attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are adept at handling medical malpractice claims, and we will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable result.  We can be reached at (410) 889-1850 or via the online form to set up a confidential and free meeting.

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