Ohio Medical Negligence Lawyers

As medical malpractice lawyers, we anticipate many inquiries about wrongful death claims arising out of the COVID-19 crisis.  This is a new area for medical negligence attorneys, but some general principles apply.

First, significant damages must exist.  If an individual contracts COVID-19 and has a full and complete recovery, I suspect that medical malpractice attorney would be willing to pursue that case.  Since the law is undecided and due to problems proving the claim (discussed below), these cases will be expensive and risky.  An Ohio medical negligence lawyer will not want to invest significant time and expenses if the only damage is an uncomplicated illness occurs.  The damages threshold for investigating a coronavirus-related claim will certainly include wrongful death claims.  Other possible damages might include severe stroke or heart damage.  There may be other scenarios but a bout of coronavirus followed by a complete recovery is not sufficient to warrant the time and expense associated with medical malpractice litigation.

In addition to wrongful death, stroke, and cardiac complications associated with coronavirus, there may be unrelated causes of personal injury or wrongful death that may give rise to a claim.  For example, if a coronavirus patient is dropped during transfer or transport and sustains a fracture, then goes on to survive the infection, there may be sufficient damages to pursue a claim.  Likewise, if a coronavirus infection results in stroke as a complication, and there is a delay in administering clot-busting medications to alleviate the effects of the stroke, there may be sufficient damages to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit based on stroke-related injuries and resulting in permanent disability.  Likewise, if a coronavirus patient is intubated for mechanical ventilation improperly, the treatment itself can cause death.  We have handled cases where an ET tube is malpositioned such that life-saving oxygen is pumped into the stomach, rather than the lungs, resulting in suffocation.  Other scenarios may exist where a coronavirus patient dies as a result of medical errors, rather than the disease, such as an overdose or a medication error.

Medical malpractice lawsuits arising out of a coronavirus-related death in a hospital setting will be few and far between in the State of Ohio.  There is no proven cure for Covid-19.  Standard care is supportive in nature, including fluids, rest, and monitoring.  Mechanical ventilation may be required in critical cases.  However, even with proper care, many patients will die from this disease.  It will be impossible to prove that earlier or more aggressive supportive care would have saved a particular patient’s life.

Like any medical negligence case, “the devil is in the detail,” and case-specific facts must be reviewed carefully and in detail.  If you have any questions about a loved one who died as a result of complications of the coronavirus and you would like to explore your legal options, please give Mishkind Kulwicki Law Firm a call.  We will be glad to assist you.