If you would like the short answer, it is: COVID-19.
What does that mean? The truth is, there's a lot that's still in the air about COVID-19, how it works, and who it will impact. And the infection rate is growing and growing in the United States right now. As of this writing, the United States has the highest number of active cases and deaths due to COVID-19 in the world.
Being a very young virus, there's not a lot known about it. What was originally thought to be a respiratory disease may not be — there's evidence, now, that the true cause of many of the symptoms of COVID-19 is the way the virus affects the blood in the body. This, it is believed, is what is leading to the surprising organ damage that many survivors have started to deal with.
And this disease is less than a year old. There's no telling what the long-term effects on the human body may be, even for those who have mild cases or were asymptomatic entirely.
This is not written with the intent to alarm you. As of this writing, there have been nearly 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States. That's just the cases that have been confirmed, and nobody knows how many of those people are going to have lifelong problems if and when they recover. There's a very reasonable chance that you or someone you love will contract COVID-19.
What does this have to do with medical malpractice?
Not only does suffering lifelong debilitating organ damage mean you are statistically more likely to encounter malpractice due to needing frequent medical care but there is a complicated legal situation around medical malpractice specifically regarding COVID-19. Many state legislatures passed bills that gave some amount of liability to health care workers who are treating COVID-19. This makes sense, the hospitals are stretched thin, there hasn't been the kind of protective gear they've needed, hospitals weren't prepared. The circumstances under which they are operating are fairly dire. But on the other hand, this may make it difficult if you truly do encounter medical malpractice.
Don't let this discourage you. In many places, this liability is limited in some way or another. So a malpractice attorney will be able to, at the very least, look at what happened and give you their understanding of whether the liability applies.
For many people, COVID-19 is going to impact their whole life from here on out, and so it's at least worth getting to know your local medical malpractice lawyer.
For more information, reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer today.