Due to precautions related to COVID-19, we have expanded our options for remote consultations. Please contact our office to discuss whether a full phone consultation or video conference is appropriate for your situation.

Group seeks limitations on malpractice claims against health workers

An organization that represents Pennsylvania health care workers has asked Gov. Tom Wolf to temporarily grant them immunity in medical malpractice claims during the COVID-19 crisis. However, some personal injury attorneys have concerns about the request from the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

The group urges the governor to sign an executive order granting health care professionals immunity from medical liability during the COVID-19 pandemic that has spread throughout the world and our state. The governor’s office noted that it was considering options.

Other state leaders have implemented acts

Dr. Lawrence John, the president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society, said the crisis has thrust our health care workers into medical roles outside their specialties. As a result, they have been forced to make swift and hasty medical decisions regarding an illness many know little about. Dr. John said that while he and his colleagues are saving lives, they should not be worried about a malpractice lawsuit.

New York’s and Illinois’s governors already have declared executive orders that limit the liability of health care professionals during this crisis. And on April 13, New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill that protects health care workers from liability. That bill is en route to the New Jersey governor’s office.

Some members of the malpractice attorney community expressed skepticism about the Pennsylvania organization’s request, adding that the order could lead to broader reforms in the torts area. Their concerns include that typical Pennsylvanians face harm if hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions gain protection from lawsuits.