The coronavirus pandemic certainly presented a number of unanticipated challenges to America’s healthcare systems (particularly for nursing homes both in Florida and throughout the rest of the country). Given that the elderly fall among the demographics shown to be particularly at risk of suffering adverse effects from the virus, it should come as little surprise that such facilities face an added burden in protecting their residents from it.
This prompts the question of whether lawmakers should extend legal protections to nursing homes (and other types of long-term care centers) related to their response to the threat of the virus (as well as their handling of individual cases). While this recognizes the unique nature of the challenges these facilities face, some may argue that it also may shield them from liability in cases involving questionable decisions.
Lawsuit over lack of care potentially shielded by coronavirus immunity protections
A recent case from North Carolina highlights this dilemma. According to the EIN Presswire, the state’s immunity shield for nursing homes dealing with coronavirus cases bars the family of a resident who failed to receive needed care during the pandemic from seeking legal action (although a local state court is currently reviewing the case). Per the family, the victim developed bedsores which led to an infection, yet the facility she lived in failed to take her to a hospital for treatment due to fears of her potential exposure to the coronavirus (she subsequently died from the infection).
Legal action involving unprecedented cases
Few may argue that cases such as this (and others stemming from the pandemic) present unprecedented legal challenges. Yet this should not deter victims of apparent nursing home negligence from seeking action where warranted (as only such action will help to establish precedent).