UPDATED 12:50 PM PT — Sunday, April 26, 2020
North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would grant doctors, hospitals and nursing homes “legal immunity” during the ongoing pandemic.
Several families have recently taken legal action against these facilities after their relatives contracted the virus. This new proposal would block those potential lawsuits.
“It’s really hard to have a good system, much less a great system, when you’re doing everything on the fly,” stated Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-N.C.). “There is no set of rules that apply to an epidemic like this, everybody is making the best decisions they can.”
The proposition is sponsored by state Rep. Perrin Jones (R-N.C.), who is also a physician. Jones emphasized providers are dealing with a virus they have little knowledge to treat, which “opens the door for a tremendous amount of liability concerns.”
However, the problem is the bill is so “broadly written,” it could possibly prevent residents from suing the health care community over non-COVID related issues. In the meantime, some have argued that the facilities and providers should be held accountable for mistakes made.
“It is very disheartening, because all these facilities get a premium price to take care of loved ones,” said Terry Allen, the son of one COVID-19 victim.
If the bill is passed, its “legal protections would be retroactive to March 10th,” the day the state declared a state of emergency, and would last for 60 days after the order is lifted.