The novel coronavirus has caused a vast number of illnesses throughout the U.S. As health care providers have struggled to learn more about the virus, they sometimes have disregarded symptoms in patients and have failed to properly diagnose or treat people suffering from the virus, causing grave harm.
Simply because the coronavirus is new does not mean that physicians do not have a duty to provide thorough care and treatment to patients. As a result, doctors may be liable for medical malpractice for failure to treat or diagnose COVID-19.
Boca Raton medical malpractice lawyer Gregg M. Hollander at the Hollander Law Firm is adept at helping people harmed by medical malpractice in the pursuit of compensation. He can develop compelling arguments on your behalf to provide you with a strong chance of a favorable outcome. From offices in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale, the Hollander Law Firm represents people in Palm Beach and Broward Counties and throughout South Florida.
Medical Malpractice for Failure to Treat or Diagnose COVID-19
Physicians have a duty to provide treatment that is commensurate with the applicable standard of care. In other words, they must provide treatment that meets the level of care that a reasonable practitioner in the same specialty, with similar training and experience, would provide under the same circumstances.
Under Florida law, if a physician departs from the standard of care, and his or her patient suffers harm as a result of the departure, the patient can pursue damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Thus, if a patient presents with symptoms of the novel coronavirus, but the treating physician does not conduct appropriate diagnostic tests, recommend that the patient visit the hospital, or otherwise take appropriate action, and that patient is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19, the patient can pursue claims against the physician for any harm caused by the delay in the diagnosis. Similarly, if a doctor does not provide appropriate treatment for a patient who was diagnosed with COVID-19, the doctor may be held liable for damages caused by his or her improper treatment.
In most medical malpractice cases, the patient’s attorney will need to retain a medical expert to discuss how the defendant health care provider’s behavior constituted a deviation from the standard of care, and how the deviation caused the patient’s harm.
Such testimony is especially critical in cases involving medical malpractice for failure to treat or diagnose COVID-19, since the defendant physician will likely argue that the standard is unclear, given the novelty of the virus.
Damages Recoverable in a Medical Malpractice Case
Typically, a plaintiff who establishes liability in a medical malpractice case will be able to recover compensation for the tangible and intangible harm caused by the defendant health care provider’s negligence. Tangible harm may include the cost of any medical treatment that the plaintiff needed to undergo due to the illness and any treatment that the plaintiff will need in the future.
It may also include lost wages if the plaintiff could not work due to his or her illness.
Intangible harm consists of any pain, suffering, and mental anguish that the plaintiff endured due to the defendant’s negligence. In cases in which a doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat COVID-19 resulted in a person’s death, the deceased person’s beneficiaries may be able to recover compensation via a wrongful death claim.
Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Boca Raton
Doctors have a duty to provide patients with competent care under all circumstances, including during the coronavirus pandemic. If you or someone you love was injured by a physician’s failure to diagnose or treat COVID-19, you should speak to an attorney to assess whether you may be able to recover compensation in a malpractice lawsuit.
Gregg M. Hollander is proficient at navigating the complexities of medical malpractice cases. Attorney Hollander’s main office is in Boca Raton, and he has additional offices in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, from which he regularly represents people in medical malpractice cases throughout South Florida. You can contact the Hollander Law Firm at 561-347-7770 or via the online form to schedule a meeting.