Democrats Attack GOP COVID Plan
Democrat Chuck Schumer went on the offensive when discussing the proposed GOP plan to protect businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Schumer said that the proposed legislation would place a moratorium on medical malpractice lawsuits until 2024. While this is overstating the case, the impact of the proposed legislation would make it much more difficult for individuals injured by negligent doctors to file suit against them.
In this article, we’ll discuss the facts around the proposed legislation and its likely impact on medical malpractice lawsuits.
Bill Does Not Prohibit Filing Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
There is no limit on the types of malpractice lawsuits that can be filed, but the threshold for the court not to dismiss the lawsuit out of hand is higher if the proposed legislation were to move forward. What’s true is that the legislation’s purpose is to protect businesses, schools, and hospitals from liability.
While the bill specifically mentions the coronavirus, the bill does so in such a way that allows it to be liberally interpreted. In essence, even if your medical problem and the ensuing medical care you receive has nothing to do with the coronavirus, the fact that a hospital is being impacted by the coronavirus (ie: being overrun with coronavirus patients) could be enough to grant it immunity from an non-coronavirus related medical malpractice lawsuit.
The New Standard Would be Impossibly High
If the bill should succeed, Plaintiffs wishing to bring medical malpractice claims against entities to which the bill’s immunity applies would need to prove that their doctor’s negligence was either “gross” or “intentional”. The bar for gross negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit is quite high. Examples of gross negligence in the realm of medical malpractice include a surgeon removing the wrong organ from your body or showing up to surgery high on meth.
In order to gain immunity from a medical malpractice lawsuit, the hospital needs to show that they are impacted by coronavirus-related concerns. They would not need to prove that the patient was receiving care specifically for the coronavirus. This could lead to a situation where hospitals applying the bare minimum of resources for coronavirus patients are given immunity for medical negligence committed by another surgeon at the hospital who is not treating coronavirus patients. That, in essence, is the fear that Democrats have concerning the new legislation.
Why is This Legislation Necessary?
The legislation is proposed to help regular commercial businesses and the health care industry prevent a flood of lawsuits related to the coronavirus. This hurts business, drives up the cost of medical care, and makes the cost of practicing medicine too high. But the fact is that an individual who has been severely injured by a doctor’s negligence may no longer be able to work, feed their family, or sometimes even themselves. So these people suffer major losses that will continue to hurt them for the rest of their lives. To deprive these people of relief would be unconscionable.
Talk to a Tampa Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you’ve suffered an injury due to medical negligence, call the Tampa medical malpractice attorneys at Palmer | Lopez today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you hold the negligent doctor accountable.