I am so sorry for your loss.
There have been a number of COVID-19-related medical malpractice cases filed throughout the country. Without more information, it’s impossible for me to know whether you might have a valid claim.
I would recommend meeting with an attorney immediately. You can find one near you here. Fortunately, initial consultations are almost always free. The attorney will be able to discuss your specific situation and tell you whether you have a case worth pursuing.
I wish you the best of luck.
On January 22, my father reported to me via text that nursing staff were not providing help as needed with incontinence issues related to the virus, leading to exacerbation and intubation on January 23. In reviewing my father’s medical record, he was given beta blockers when perimeters didn’t permit, left dehydrated as evidenced by labs, and went without proper diabetes management.
On January 28, my father’s medical record shows he was discharged as deceased by accident, and required a new account to be created for his care. I was never notified of this. His new account took several hours (approximately 7-8) before becoming available, and from there on after he required echocardiogram and EEG testing. He began suffering seizures that had not been reported, and it appears he was unresponsive, septic, and possibly contracted C. diff from nursing notes. Bladder scans show 600 ml of residual, and despite decreased urine output they continued to administer lasix. Neuro checks indicated fixed and/or slow reactive pupils, and EKG continued to show infractions.
However, providers and nursing staff continued to administer levophed as well as several sedatives and paralytics despite failing spontaneous waking trials. On February 9, my father passed away. After I demanded to be allowed to see him and after 2 weeks, he was depleted and critically ill, malnourished, and his ears as well as neck were discolored from prolonged sepsis (pictures were taken for record). He was ordered protein for wounds and to help increase decreased protein levels indicated on labs which was left at his bedside table and not given with date marked from previous dates.
Position pillows I purchased on the left side chair instead are used to relieve pressure on the coccyx. Several new wounds (stages II-III) were present on his face and neck. Aside from poor care and the lack of dignity provided to my beloved father, I found his consent was forged to allow plasma. The date on his consent states 1/6 @ 0200 where clearly the signature isn’t his. But to confirm without a doubt the consent was done to falsify record, the label placed that should have been from admission reflects the account number created on January 28, which could not have been placed at the time consent is indicated.
My father’s entire record reflects malpractice and negligence. My father was almost discharged home around January 14, and due to lack of support and failure to treat he passed away lonely, scared, and away from his family. He was never given a chance to come home once he entered that hospital. He spent his 63rd birthday intubated and his daughters, grandchildren, and siblings are left with grief and sorrow with no help to punish those responsible and trusted to care for him.
As a nurse working during the pandemic, I understand the conditions and sympathize with many professionals who try to treat this virus. But when treatment, evaluation, or management aren’t given, it’s hard to understand why immunity for healthcare exists. Hospitals are being allowed to not treat with the excuse of covid and my father, as well as many families around the world, are losing loved ones for carelessness. Please help me!
I am so sorry for your loss. This has been a difficult year for so many people, and we’ve had so much sorrow and pain.
I am not a doctor, so I can’t comment on the specifics regarding your dad’s treatment. However, medical malpractice is based on the standard of care that’s expected or reasonable within the community — so, in other words, it’s based on what a medical professional of comparable training and with similar resources would do in the same situation.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 adds some wrinkles to traditional medical malpractice. January was a peak time for COVID-19 hospitalizations, and while it’s possible that your dad’s care was not as good as it should have been, it’s also possible that the hospital was over capacity, under-staffed, and still figuring out how to treat COVID-19 patients since it’s still a relatively new illness. The staff might have been struggling to do the best they could with few resources. It’s certainly not an excuse for negligent care, but it also might not meet the standard for medical malpractice.
I suggest you contact a medical malpractice lawyer for guidance if you’re looking to hold the hospital or its personnel accountable. Your lawyer will be able to review your dad’s charts with medical experts to determine if malpractice occurred and what you should do if so.
Here’s a directory (https://www.enjuris.com/directory/lawyers/texas/) of Texas lawyers who can help. Again, my most sincere condolences for your loss. Be well.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
As of right now, California has not passed any laws protecting hospitals from civil lawsuits based on their patients contracting COVID-19.
To establish a wrongful death claim, you’ll need to prove that:
- The hospital owed your loved one a duty,
- The hospital breached the duty, and
- The breach was the proximate cause of your loved one’s death.
All hospitals owe their patients a duty of care. As a result, the focus of your lawsuit will be on whether the hospital breached this duty by failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
For example, if a patient showed symptoms of the novel coronavirus, and the staff didn’t keep them away from the other patients, the hospital probably breached their duty of care.
Once you establish that the hospital breached their duty of care, you’ll then need to establish that the breach caused your mother’s death. In other words, you’ll need to prove that your mother contracted the virus as a result of the hospital’s actions (or inactions) and not as a result of some other cause (such as a visit from a relative who had the coronavirus).
In New York, landlords can be held liable for dangerous conditions. To establish liability in this specific case, you would need to prove that:
- You contracted COVID-19 from the tenant while in a common area (not in your apartment or the tenant’s apartment), and
- The landlord knew that the tenant had COVID-19.
The biggest challenge you’re likely to face is proving that you contracted COVID-19 from the tenant. This will be challenging because your landlord can argue that you contracted COVID-19 from a visitor, or a tenant who the landlord didn’t know had COVID-19, or from some other person while you were outside the apartment. Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to prove exactly how you contracted COVID-19.
In the meantime, the Office of Civil Justice offers free legal help for residents in New York who are having problems with their landlords. You can find more information here.
I’m so sorry this happened to you.
You have the right to sue for the denial of medical treatment. The United States Supreme Court held that inmates have a right to adequate medical care. Additionally, you may have the right to sue for contracting COVID-19 depending on the circumstances.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is a federal law that requires inmates to exhaust all administrative remedies before they’re permitted to file a personal injury lawsuit. In other words, before you file a lawsuit, you must first try to resolve your complaint through the prison’s existing grievance procedures. It sounds like you may have already done this.
You have a right to sue without a lawyer (known as “pro se”). However, you face several obstacles when suing a jail that people who are not in prison don’t face. Consequently, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney.
Some nonprofit organizations represent prisoners for free or at a reduced cost. You can find a list of those organizations here. If you have a good chance of winning your lawsuit, a lawyer might take your case on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you’ll pay the attorney a percentage of your award if you win, but you don’t have to pay the lawyer anything if you lose. You can use our free online directory to reach out to an attorney.
I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law’s passing. This has been a very difficult year for so many people. Unfortunately, it would be difficult for your sister to bring a successful lawsuit against the hospital. There are a couple of factors that would complicate her case:
- She would need to prove that he became infected with COVID-19 in the hospital. Although he hadn’t been around anyone other than your sister outside the hospital, she could’ve become infected by someone else (at the supermarket, or anyplace she might have been) and brought it home to him. And, even if she wasn’t anywhere else, it would be hard to prove how he became infected.
- She would need to prove negligence on the part of the hospital staff, and that their negligence caused your brother-in-law to become infected with COVID-19. That means she would need to know that one of the doctors, nurses, or other staff who were in contact with your brother had the virus during the timeframe when he could’ve been infected (which could be a 2-week period between contact and symptoms) and that they were not taking the appropriate precautions during that time. For instance, if a nurse had COVID-19 and treated your brother-in-law while she wasn’t wearing a face covering during the time when he could have become infected, that might be negligence if that whole string of events (nurse had COVID, had direct contact with your brother-in-law, didn’t wear a face covering) can be proven.
If she has evidence that points to negligence on the part of hospital staff, perhaps she could bring a claim. But it would still be a challenge to prove how he became infected.
Best of luck. Again, I am so sorry for your and your sister’s loss.