Is COVID-19 Increasing the Risk of Medical Malpractice?
With ICUs and emergency rooms hitting capacity due to COVID-19 cases, hospitals in California and across the country have difficulty providing patients with a high standard of care. This may lead some patients and their families wondering if COVID-19 is increasing the risk of medical malpractice. Here, the medical malpractice attorneys of Burke Argos in Irvine, CA, discuss how the COVID-19 crisis could be impacting a medical provider’s ability to provide good care.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or any healthcare professional does not uphold the standard of care when treating a patient. This could be as a result of an act of negligence or omission, which causes injury to the patient.
The surge in admissions and hospital overcrowding due to COVID-19 may increase the risk of certain types of medical malpractice in hospitals.
1). Ambulances Waiting at the Hospitals for Hours
Emergency rooms have been crowded in southern California, with reports that some ambulances have had to wait for hours when bringing in patients. This can result in delayed treatment, which can increase the risk of more serious injury or death.
2). Potential Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose have been some of the most common types of medical malpractice even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hospital overcrowding, patients may be even more concerned about misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose medical conditions.
Medical providers should be vigilant and order the appropriate types of diagnostic tests depending on the symptoms exhibited by the patient. Thorough check-ups should also be performed on the patient. When hospitals, doctors, nurses, or other medical personnel are negligent in their care and fail to diagnose or misdiagnose a condition, you may have a medical malpractice case.
3). Lacking Personal Protection Equipment
Healthcare providers are required to wear protective equipment. A recent California state law requires hospitals to stock at least a three-month supply of respirators, masks, gowns, and other PPE. However, most hospitals face shortages of PPE, which may expose other patients to the risk of infection.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice claims need to fulfill these requirements to be accepted:
- Violation of care standards. Healthcare providers are required to serve patients based on these standards. The standards also apply to any extreme cases such as the current overflow of hospitals due to COVID-19.
- When negligence causes an injury. A violation does not amount to malpractice without an actual injury.
- There is extreme damage from the injury. Medical malpractice may lead to significant medical expenses, loss of income, and emotional suffering.
Hiring a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A medical malpractice lawyer at our Irvine firm can help you pursue justice if medical negligence injures you or a loved one. An attorney can help you understand the facts of the case, and we will analyze the relevant medical records related to the alleged malpractice.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
Contact us to schedule a consultation so we can review your medical malpractice claim. You can also call us in Irvine at (949) 644-3434.