Frontline health care workers - our indefatigable, exhusted, , heroes - are dealing with a mind-boggling number of crises that are making their lives hell, all of which could have been prevented or at least minimized had the federal government not .
Between trying to solve multiple health care crises and dealing with an economic collapse, lawmakers have more than enough to do right now without being burdened with lobbyist demands over pretend problems.
Here’s a pretend problem: COVID-19 patients suing front line workers for medical malpractice. No one’s doing that. Yet you would never know it by reading the overly anxious recent letter to Congress from the “Health Care Coalition on Liability and Access,” a coalition of medical and insurance lobbies whose entire agenda is to push laws that strip patients of legal rights. They claim that the “threat” of medical malpractice lawsuits “remains hanging over their heads like a sword of Damocles.” Really? Watch last night's about how U.S. doctors and nurses are "risking their lives without the same protective gear many of their counterparts around the world have," and tell me that lawsuits are the problem. In fact, what a preposterous thing to say about any sick and dying COVID-19 patient - far too many of whom are !
Even in normal times, almost no one sues for medical malpractice even though they have a legitimate case. (See plenty of studies supporting this fact in the Center for Justice & Democracy’s .) But now, in the midst of a pandemic caused by a virus with no medical cure, exacerbated by equipment shortages that the health care system did not create, this whole issue is a red herring. As any lawyer who practices in this field will tell you, the standard of care, and what the law reasonably expects of health care professionals in an emergency, is very different than normal times.
Some might say “well, if there aren’t any lawsuits against frontline workers, what’s the harm in immunizing them”? Perhaps there isn’t. But let’s be clear what a law like this means. First, it means Congress would be asking sick and dying patients to give up Constitutionally-protected rights. Taking away Constitutional rights should never been done lightly even in an emergency. Perhaps especially in an emergency. And it’s not just sick patients asked to sacrifice here. States would also be relinquishing authority to decide how to handle this in their state – a that the federal government has otherwise chosen to largely dump on them. Just a wild guess, but of all the many things states need help with right now, preempting their tort law isn't on the list.
Second, the concern about overreach is real. Take a look at some COVID-related state immunity statutes that have already quickly passed, seemingly without a second thought. Some of these laws go far beyond protecting front line health care workers. For example, New York’s law, as well some laws in other states like Illinois, immunizes nursing 米兜彩票电脑版s. Some of these 米兜彩票电脑版s are run by negligent for-profit . Elderly nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 residents are probably the single most vulnerable population in a state, virtual for this virus.
Yet these residents, who depend on nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 competence for their literal survival, are now terribly in this pandemic. Clearly, negligent corporate owners should be on the hook for lethal, preventable failures, as described in this against Tennessee-based Life Care Centers of America Inc., “among the largest players in U.S. nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 care, with more than 200 senior-living centers in 28 states.”
In this case, “Debbie de los Angeles, whose mother Twilla Morin, 85, died on March 4 at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington of COVID-19” is suing because “the company concealed vital facts about the outbreak before her mother died.” Her attorney says, “his client strongly suspects the company knew more about a potential coronavirus outbreak” before it admitted to it. “My client filed a lawsuit to demand answers to important questions,” he said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, in Florida, a state with one of the largest age 65+ populations in the country, the nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 industry is begging for immunity in a sent to Governor “” DeSantis last month.
Brian Lee, executive director of Families For Better Care, a non-profit group advocating for nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 residents, said the letter was the equivalent of "asking for forgiveness in advance."
"It just got my blood boiling. I was shocked by the temerity of the industry to ask for blanket immunity from lawsuits… and to do it during the middle of this crisis. It’s appalling, and it’s a total slap in the face of families," Lee said. "All of their focus should be on saving our families lives, but it shows that, at the end of the day, they care more about their own protections. It's gross."…
A recent found that a majority of U.S. nursing 米兜彩票电脑版s (75%) have been cited for failing to properly monitor and control infections in the last three years – a higher proportion than previously known.
Compared to virtually any other population in America, nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 residents are the most fragile and at-risk for COVID-19. Whether it’s Congress or the states, the very last thing we should be doing is removing the nursing 米兜彩票电脑版 industry’s financial incentive to maintain safety for these residents. And when it comes to other kinds of immunity requests, remember that health care and insurance industry lobbyists don’t always tell the truth. If nothing else, we should be able to agree on that.