With the advent of the pandemic, many first responders and health care workers have become the face of the fight against COVID-19. This is important, as these people have helped stave off the worst of the pandemic and have kept our country and our world going during the past year. However, there are still instances where a doctor or healthcare worker could be negligent while treating someone and cause further injury or death to that person. How can plaintiff’s attorneys work to maintain medical standards of care in medical negligence cases while there is a bias in favor of all healthcare workers?
The “Hero Defense” and How It May Be Used
The so-called “Hero Defense” is a defense that has been used recently during the few medical negligence trials that have occurred in the last year. This defense has stated that because healthcare workers have been in the frontlines of the pandemic, the public cannot expect them to meet the normal standards of care pre-pandemic. The designation of “hero” indicates going above and beyond normal expectations. The normal standard of care is that which a reasonable healthcare worker would do under the same or similar circumstances. This can be difficult to discuss with a jury, because during the pandemic, treatment that seems heroic is simply reasonable under a healthcare standard.
There are some questions that attorneys can ask to determine if the hero defense should even apply to a given case, and many of these questions revolve around whether a facility actually provided COVID-19 treatment at all. If it did not, then the pandemic has not truly affected that healthcare facility, and therefore the distinction should not apply.
Another important thing to remember concerning the “hero defense” is that “heroism” cannot be used as a characteristic to prove someone acted in a certain way, as it is improper character evidence. Using this designation can evoke sympathy amongst jurors, even where a healthcare provider has done something wrong and caused injury to someone due to their negligence.
In instances today, when a patient was treated for something other than Covid-19, it is also important to note that any “heroism” associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic is not related to the negligent acts of the healthcare provider at hand. Because the actions of the healthcare provider that injured someone were not Covid-19 related, any actions regarding the healthcare provider’s work with Covid-19 patients is off-limits for a jury to hear.
There are healthcare providers who have done a lot during the Covid-19 Pandemic, and they have kept our society functioning. However, in cases where a patient has been injured due to the negligent actions of a healthcare provider, especially in cases not related to the pandemic, the healthcare providers must be held to the same standard as they were before Covid-19.
Have You Been Injured Due to a Healthcare Provider’s Negligence?
Contact the experienced attorneys at Hurst Limontes LLC. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in personal injury law, and we always work hard for our clients. We will fight for you to ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries. Call or email our office for a free consultation today!