A bill passed into law on July 23, 2020 changes the scope of liability that nursing homes face due to COVID-19 care. The law also addresses hospital liability.
The new law lessens nursing home and hospital protection that previously required either gross negligence or intentional misconduct as the standard for proving liability. Healthcare professionals involved in directly diagnosing and treating patients with the coronavirus still receive protection. However, facilities not involved in direct treatment could be subject to lawsuits.
If a facility failed to take measures to protect a resident or patient against contagion, it could be liable. Failing to isolate patients or follow accepted preventative protocols would be forms of negligence.
The law only applies to future cases, not past or existing cases, which some lawmakers did not believe was adequately stringent.
Here are the facts regarding New York nursing home deaths due to COVID-19:
Advanced age and comorbidity make nursing home residents more vulnerable to COVID-19. This is true regardless of the type of care or substandard care. Heart or chronic respiratory disease are common ailments in nursing home facilities as are diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases that put the elderly at greater risk.
Even so, nursing homes are responsible for following medical guidelines and taking proper precautions to protect against contagion, including wearing masks and social distancing along with maintaining sanitary conditions.
Speak with our attorneys at Sackstein, Sackstein & Lee, LLP and find out how we can help. We can explain the legalities involved with nursing home neglect or abuse and determine whether taking legal action is warranted.