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Noticeable Trends in Medical Negligence Post-Covid-19

Noticeable Trends in Medical Negligence Post-Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic threw many aspects of modern life into sharp relief, including the challenges, limitations and shortcomings of our health system. Discussion of what constitutes medical negligence and how to prove it increased towards the end of the pandemic, an area of law that is one of the specialties of our professional team at BPC Lawyers.

Here we’ll look more closely at some of the prominent trends in medical negligence in a post-Covid world, including some common examples of this type of legal action such as delayed or missed diagnoses, nursing home failures, and other critical issues in the Australian setting. It’s important to note at the outset that medical negligence can be difficult to prove, relying heavily on expert medical and technical evidence brought forward by a patient’s legal team to demonstrate their harm was caused by their treatment.

If any of the issues raised here apply to your personal situation, contact one of our expert lawyers.

Delayed diagnoses

In Australia as with many other countries, healthcare systems were often overwhelmed by the demands of patients at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. One consequence was that routine screenings, consultations, and diagnostic tests for other ailments were often postponed or cancelled. As a result, many patients faced delays in receiving timely medical attention, leading to adverse health outcomes. In some cases, conditions that could have been effectively treated if detected early were allowed to progress, exacerbating patient suffering and increasing the risk of long-term complications.

Establishing medical negligence in this situation, however, is a high hurdle to get over. The burden is on a patient to demonstrate that the delay was causally connected to the practitioner’s negligence, and not an unavoidable result of necessary disease control measures. It also requires the patient to show the delay caused them to suffer an injury. In medical negligence cases, the role of expert evidence is crucial to support the injured patient’s claims.

Failures in aged care facilities

As became abundantly apparent during the pandemic, elderly people were particularly vulnerable in the face of the virus. Aged care facilities, already facing systemic challenges prior to the pandemic, struggled to contain the spread of the virus among vulnerable residents. More than 5,000 people died in Australia’s aged care facilities over the course of the pandemic. Inadequate staffing levels, lack of infection control measures, and substandard care practices contributed to outbreaks and preventable deaths in nursing homes across Australia.

Some of the factors alleged of the facilities include failure to adequately plan for the control, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, incorrect protocols and medical care procedures, and inadequate use of personal protective equipment.

Consult our expert team

The examples mentioned above are just a couple of the medical negligence issues that came into sharper focus during the Covid-19 period.

At BPC Lawyers we are compensation specialists with wide experience of medical negligence cases. If you have concerns as a result of the information on this topic, please contact one of our team as soon as possible for an initial consultation.