At the time this is being written, the designation of the coronavirus outbreak as a world-wide pandemic is less than a week old. How the coronavirus pandemic will affect the world population, world economies, and the everyday lives of everyone, whether infected with the coronavirus or not, is a big unknown that strikes fear in many people’s minds. It may very well be that certain aspects of our pre-coronavirus world may change forever, in ways we cannot presently predict or fathom.
What Is A Pandemic?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a pandemic as an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people. The classical definition includes nothing about population immunity, virology or disease severity. By this definition, pandemics can be said to occur annually in each of the temperate southern and northern hemispheres, given that seasonal epidemics cross international boundaries and affect a large number of people. However, seasonal epidemics are not considered pandemics.
Coronavirus Medical Malpractice Claims
Without knowing the extent of the coronavirus pandemic, how it may evolve and play out over time, how many people may become infected, and how severely it may affect those who become infected (including any long-term or permanent effects), it is pure speculation at this time whether and to what extent the tort system in the United States will become involved in responding to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. It is possible that the federal government and/or state governments may enact legislation affecting medical malpractice claims that may arise out of the coronavirus pandemic, including the possibility that certain negligent health care providers may be granted absolute or limited immunity from such claims.
Some areas in which we presently expect that coronavirus medical malpractice claims may arise include alleged failures of hospitals to prepare for and respond appropriately and timely to coronavirus patients, the negligent failure of hospitals and other health care providers to timely diagnose the coronavirus in patients, the negligent failure to take appropriate precautions to prevent or limit the exposure to and spread of coronavirus among patients not infected, the negligent failure to timely and appropriately treat coronavirus patients, and negligent failures that result in the delay of unrelated treatments and procedures that cause harm to patients.
The coronavirus is termed a “novel” virus because it is new in humans – not found or detected in humans in the past. Because of the uniqueness of the coronavirus and its never-before-seen world-wide effects on people, their families, and their governments, it is difficult at this time to anticipate what types of medical malpractice claims may arise from the coronavirus and how the tort system in the United States may respond to provide victims of coronavirus medical malpractice with rights to seek and obtain adequate compensation for their harms and losses, or whether the federal or state governments may retroactively preclude such claims.
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in the United States involving the coronavirus, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your coronavirus medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a coronavirus medical 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 medical malpractice attorneys in your U.S. state who may assist you.
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