With hospitalizations related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) soaring, revenue from elective procedures plummeting, and health professionals experiencing unprecedented stress, the pandemic is challenging the US health care system in unimaginable ways. Will there be further consequences? Another medical malpractice crisis is a growing possibility.
Physicians, hospitals, and nursing homes, along with manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics, are apprehensive about potential liability during the pandemic.1 Some health care organizations are asking patients to acknowledge and explicitly assume COVID-19 risks before receiving care; others have requested and sometimes have obtained legal immunity from tort liability through state legislation or executive order.1
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Sage WM, Boothman RC, Gallagher TH. Another Medical Malpractice Crisis? Try Something Different. JAMA. 2020;324(14):1395–1396. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.16557
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