COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Medical Malpractice for Failure to Treat or Diagnose Coronavirus

Chicago Lawyers for Victims of Negligent Health Care Providers

Patients who are seen by a health care provider with symptoms of coronavirus are owed a professional duty of care. However, not every failure to treat or diagnose COVID-19 is considered negligence. A claim for medical malpractice for failure to treat or diagnose coronavirus is only available to you if your doctor deviated from the professional standard of care and caused you harm. However, due to changes in the law, holding health care providers accountable for medical negligence in relation to coronavirus can be especially challenging. If you have questions about your legal rights under these circumstances, you should discuss your situation with an experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

You may acquire symptoms of coronavirus anywhere from 2 to14 days after you’re exposed to it. Symptoms may include congestion, fever, chills, cough, breathing difficulties, fatigue, headache, loss of smell or taste, nausea, and diarrhea, along with bluish lips, inability to stay awake, confusion, and chest pain. Healthcare providers should recognize these symptoms of coronavirus in their patients and act accordingly to try to obtain a favorable health outcome.

Medical Malpractice for Failure to Treat or Diagnose Coronavirus

When you go to see your doctor or enter a hospital, you’re entitled to get medical treatment according to established standards of practice. Unfortunately, many patients suffer injuries every year because of medical negligence. In some cases, patients who exhibit clear signs of coronavirus are discharged and die from the virus at home. In other cases, they are treated for the wrong condition and become gravely ill due to the delay in correct treatment. In Illinois, all patients who receive medical care that falls below the pertinent professional standard of care and are injured are ordinarily entitled to sue the responsible party for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can involve a failure to diagnose or a failure to treat COVID-19.

Generally, to recover damages for medical malpractice you would need to show by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) the defendant owed you a professional standard of care, (2) deviation from the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. All health care providers must meet the professional standards of care established within their specialty. The professional standard of care for diagnosing or treating coronavirus can vary depending on your age, gender, health status, symptoms, and geographic location.

Failure to diagnose coronavirus can be the result of a failure to conduct a proper differential diagnosis. In other cases, a doctor might fail to ask about your medical history for purposes of assessing risk factors. Serious symptoms may be dismissed as minor, such that appropriate tests are not ordered. There may be misinterpretation of test results that leads to diagnostic failure. However, the usual standards for medical malpractice may not apply in cases involving failure to treat or diagnose coronavirus; it’s important to talk about the particulars of your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Under an Illinois Executive Order, your ability to hold your health care provider accountable for malpractice related to COVID-19 is different than your capacity to hold a health care provider liable for failure to treat or diagnose another illness.

Executive Order 2020-19

In April 2020, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-19, which gives civil immunity to health care professionals, health care facilities, and health care volunteers who help in support of Illinois’ response to coronavirus, except when the care involves willful misconduct or gross negligence. “Willful misconduct” and “gross negligence” are much tougher standards than the usual professional standard of care that applies to medical malpractice cases.

Under this order, immunity is provided to any government-operated site that gives health care services established to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, along with skilled nursing facilities. Subsequently, Executive Order 2020-33 expanded immunity to cover assisted living facilities and supportive living facilities. Even medical and nursing students who render assistance to a healthcare facility in responding to coronavirus are immunized from suit except when they are grossly negligent or commit willful misconduct.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Chicago Area Residents

If you or a loved one was harmed due to medical malpractice for failure to treat or diagnose coronavirus in Chicago, you should discuss your situation with the knowledgeable lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent patients in Quincy, Champaign, Aurora and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Kane, Adams, Sangamon, and Cook Counties. Contact us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or via our online form.