North Carolina joins an increasing number of U.S. states providing health care providers with immunity from medical malpractice claims during the coronavirus pandemic, except for “gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm by the health care facility or health care provider providing health care services; provided that the acts, omissions, or decisions resulting from a resource or staffing shortage shall not be considered to be gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm.”
The relief package, which was passed unanimously and signed into law on May 4, 2020, includes almost $1.6 billion in relief measures for critical expenditures related to public health and safety, educational needs, small business assistance, and continuity of state government operations. Of this amount, $1.4 billion has been appropriated and $150 million is set aside in a reserve fund for future local government needs.
The North Carolina “Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act” states, in part: “It is the purpose of this Article to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of all citizens by broadly protecting the health care facilities and health care providers in this State from liability that may result from treatment of individuals during the COVID-19 public health emergency under conditions resulting from circumstances associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency.”
The North Carolina Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act provides very broad immunity for health care providers from medical malpractice claims: “(a) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any health care facility, health care provider, or entity that has legal responsibility for the acts or omissions of a health care provider shall have immunity from any civil liability for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing health care services only if all of the following apply: (1) The health care facility, health care provider, or entity is arranging for or providing health care services during the period of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, including, but not limited to, the arrangement or provision of those services pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule. (2) The arrangement or provision of health care services is impacted, directly or indirectly: a. By a health care facility, health care provider, or entity’s decisions or activities in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; or b. By the decisions or activities, in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, of a health care facility or entity where a health care provider provides health care services. (3) The health care facility, health care provider, or entity is arranging for or providing health care services in good faith.”
But Not Every Health Care Provider Is A Hero
Medical providers in North Carolina who were incompetent and dangerous before the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic are still incompetent and dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic, yet are being provided with increased shielding from being held responsible for the unnecessary harm and pain they are continuing to inflict on their patients and their families.
If you or a loved one may have been harmed due to medical malpractice during the coronavirus pandemic in North Carolina or in another U.S. state, you should find a coronavirus malpractice lawyer in North Carolina or in your state who may investigate your coronavirus malpractice claim for you and represent you and/or your loved one in a coronavirus malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find coronavirus attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.