Could a COVID-19-Related Screening Delay Count as Medical Malpractice?



One of the most unsettling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was the substantial delays in medical diagnostic services. True, the novel coronavirus forced already overwhelmed nursing staff to focus on treating virus-stricken patients. But that came at the expense of others who also needed urgent care for other ailments. 

For those who became severely or terminally ill, the question of malpractice comes into play. Are they victims of medical negligence? This post will explore this topic in further detail, and how an expert medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your legal options.

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The effects of COVID-19 on diagnostics and screenings

While  frontline medical staff was engaged in treating critically ill patients during the pandemic, there were increased wait times for regular appointments or elective surgeries, missed diagnoses, and delayed screening and tests (including MRI scans, CT scans, and blood tests) for non-COVID-19 medical conditions. 

Many patients faced delays in essential cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In the United States, screening for lung, prostate, colon, and breast cancer was found to diminish by 56 percent, 74 percent, 75 percent, and 85 percent respectively at the pandemic peak in April 2020. All of this posed significant risks to people’s lives, aggravating their medical conditions.

Delays in treatment for patients with life-threatening conditions

The need to redirect health-care resources toward combating virus spread caused unprecedented delays in treating patients. Major sufferers were people with a wide range of potentially life-threatening conditions, including:

  • all types of cancer (lung cancer, bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer);
  • diabetes;
  • chronic kidney, and liver diseases;
  • cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. 

The improper diagnosis and treatment delays of such serious medical illnesses can have catastrophic consequences. And in cases with worsened medical conditions, it’s important to know your legal rights to claim the compensation you truly deserve.

When a delayed diagnosis (during COVID-19) is considered malpractice

Medical professionals, regardless of their area of expertise, owe a duty of care to their patients. If you believe  your doctor failed to meet the standard of care that worsened your medical condition or the unnecessary diagnostic or treatment delays prolonged your pain and suffering, you’re eligible to file a lawsuit for medical malpractice.

How a medical malpractice lawyer can help 

If you or a member of your family has experienced a severe health outcome because of an avoidable medical error or delayed/missed treatments and diagnostics during the COVID-19 pandemic, reach out to a medical malpractice law firm. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will review your case, collate all the medical proofs, assess the viability of your claim, and provide the right guidance as you determine your next legal steps.

If you’re wondering “how do I file a medical malpractice claim,” contact LegalASAP for a free consultation with a skilled member of our team.