We read every day about the personal danger our front-line medical professionals face as they care for the thousands of patients stricken with COVID-19, often without adequate protective equipment and with no proven treatment methods to offer.
In this pandemic, health care providers find themselves in unusual professional situations. They are giving people medical tests in their cars. They often must wear the same protective mask or respirator multiple days in a row. They are following rapidly changing guidelines in determining which medications might help their COVID-19 patients. As their colleagues fall ill, doctors, nurses, and other health care workers are called to fill in and practice medicine outside of their specialty areas.
Providing medical care in these overwhelming conditions for a disease not well understood can involve rapid decision-making in less than ideal conditions. We are witnessing heroic efforts from all of our health care professionals in this emergency. Given the circumstances, they should not be worried about being sued by patients and their families for the medical care they’ve offered under these conditions.
That’s why the Healthy Me PA community is joining the call from medical and health care groups across Pennsylvania for the governor to grant temporary immunity from malpractice claims to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pennsylvania is part of a multistate coalition working to coordinate the eventual resumption of business, and it’s important to note that many of those states have issued executive orders or passed legislation granting this immunity to health care providers. Unfortunately, recently enacted federal legislation, the CARES Act and PREP Act, does not provide such protections for the decisions of practitioners and facilities in dealing with COVID-19.
Frankly, we don’t have time to wait for legislative action to answer this call as caring for COVID patients continues. We call on Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly to provide legal protections to our health care workers now. Please let the governor know you want him to protect our front-line health care workers with this immunity proclamation by calling his office at 717-787-2500 or completing an online contact form.