The COVID-19 pandemic has put enormous pressure on all aspects of our lives, including the healthcare system. Doctors, nurses, and others in the healthcare field have done incredible work since the pandemic reached the United States. However, a new report suggests that a combination of factors has resulted in fewer disciplinary actions against doctors and more medical errors slipping through the cracks. As a result, there may be an increase in medical errors for treatment rendered which is unrelated to the COVID-19 virus.
What the Statistics Show
In essence, the new report from USA Today indicates that as the first wave of the pandemic peaked and healthcare workers began to get sick, hospitals and state medical boards took a hands-off approach to disciplinary issues. Among other findings, USA Today reported that emergency actions by state medical boards to suspend doctors’ licenses dropped by 59 percent from April to June compared with the same period last year. These emergency suspensions and restrictions dropped by 85 percent in April alone, according to data sent to USA Today by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. (HRSA is an agency under the Department of Health and Human Services.)
The decline in emergency actions by state medical boards was primarily driven by drops of 50 percent to 100 percent in six states:
- New York
These figures have patient safety advocates extremely worried. Azza AbuDagga of the Public Citizen Health Research Group pointed out that only 2 percent of medical board complaints make it to the formal hearing stage anyway. Fewer complaints and fewer disciplinary actions make the likelihood of medical errors much greater especially as the medical licensing board provides another layer of protection for patients.
When to Contact a Lawyer About a Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims are complex, and not every medical misstep is considered malpractice. However, there are certain scenarios that are cause for seeking legal advice, such as:
- If your condition significantly worsened while under a doctor’s care due to a failure to timely diagnose
- If your condition was misdiagnosed resulting in a significant injury
- If a loved one suffered a wrongful death due to medical negligence
The attorneys at Baker & Gilchrist have more than 60 years of combined experience successfully handling medical malpractice claims. Our firm also consults with experts to assist with whatever medical questions you might have.
Get answers today by scheduling a free and confidential consultation. Our firm does not charge attorneys’ fees or other expenses upfront. You don’t owe us any money unless we collect compensation on your behalf.