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COVID-related stress fuels rise in medical errors

A rise in medical malpractice lawsuits across the U.S. illustrates the stress America’s hospitals are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Software data company Justpoint, which monitors medical malpractice complaints, says increases in infection rates correspond to an increase in claims for people age 70 and older.

Malpractice cases rise in Michigan

Justpoint says the Wolverine State is on the higher end of lawsuits related to COVID-19, which comprise nearly 4% of all medical malpractice complaints. Many cases don’t relate to plaintiffs being diagnosed with the virus, but rather their care was impacted by the pandemic, resulting in:

  • Medical errors
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Understaffing
  • Medication mistakes
  • Falls

In one case, an elderly patient taking medication that made her drowsy fell and broke her hip getting out of bed to use the bathroom because no one was there to help her. Some cases involve patients taking the wrong medications, resulting in allergic reactions.

Some facilities suffering from staffing shortages have hired people with less experience or personnel from other states who aren’t properly trained or fail to follow proper protocols. All of these situations lead to an atmosphere where mistakes are more likely.

The rise in complaints follows waves of infection

An uptick in medical malpractice cases was seen after the fall surge in COVID-19 infections. A second wave is expected after the upswing in the infection rate and hospitalizations at the end of 2020.

Families who believe their loved one’s care was compromised during this time are urged to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible, as it can take time to build these cases. In Michigan, victims have two years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

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