This presentation, given by two experienced medical malpractice defense attorneys, Linda Hay and Susan Wagener both from the firm HeplerBroom, address the ways that COVID-19 is altering the malpractice landscape. Topics discussed include who can make a claim, what kinds of claims can be brought against healthcare practitioners based on COVID-19 issues, where these types of claims can be brought, and how they will proceed differently from the traditional medical negligence claim. Within that framework, the presenters discuss the fluidity of standard of care allegations in this unprecedented times, and explain that while new types of medical theories on standard of care may expand based on the novel coronavirus, both old and new defense theories can also be used to attack these new claims. One important defense in a COVID-19 related case will be the application of immunity statutes or orders, both old and new. The presenters expound on these immunities, how they work, and how they may or may not apply in claims against healthcare providers.
Finally, the program goes back to the basics of how and why time tested defense strategies for risk management are still critically important. This includes good and detailed documentation, staying up to date with reputable and required guidelines and infection control procedures, and maintaining evidence of compliance. The presenters round out the session by looking forward to more widespread use of telemedicine, as well as practical advice for the practitioner to avoid a claim.