Illinois Governor Grants Blanket, All-Encompassing Immunity To Many Health Care Professionals For Their Medical Negligence During COVID-19 Crisis

On April 1 (April Fools’ Day), 2020, Illinois’ Governor issued Executive Order 2020-19 which provides, in part: “I direct that during the pendency of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, Health Care Professionals, as defined in Section 1 of this Executive Order, shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission by the Health Care Professional, which injury or death occurred at a time when a Health Care Professional was engaged in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct of such Health Care Professional, if 20 ILCS 3305/15 is applicable, or by willful misconduct, if 20 ILCS 3305/21 is applicable.”

The Executive Order provides similar immunity to “Health Care Facilities”: “I direct that during the pendency of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, Health Care Facilities, as defined in Section 1 of this Executive Order, shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission by the Health Care Facility, which injury or death occurred at a time when a Health Care Facility was engaged in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing health care services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by gross negligence or willful misconduct of such Health Care Facility, if 20 ILCS 3305/15 is applicable, or by willful misconduct, if 20 ILCS 3305/21 is applicable.”

“Health Care Volunteer” immunity was also granted: “I direct that during the pendency of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, any Health Care Volunteer, as defined in Section 1 of this Executive Order, shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been caused by any act or omission by such Health Care Volunteer in the course of rendering assistance to the State by providing services, assistance, or support in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, unless it is established that such injury or death was caused by willful misconduct of such Health Care Volunteer.”

The Illinois Governor’s Executive Order is “effective April 1, 2020 and for the remainder of the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations, which currently extends through April 30, 2020.”

Because the Executive Order specifically states, “For Health Care Professionals, “rendering assistance” in support of the State’s response means providing health care services at a Health Care Facility in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, or working under the direction of IEMA or DPH in response to the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamations,” it appears that health care professionals who are negligent in treating patients wholly unrelated to COVID-19 are nonetheless granted such blanket immunity as long as the health care facility at which they were medically negligent was involved with COVID-19. For instance, it would appear that an orthopedic surgeon who negligently performs surgery on a patient’s neck leading to total and permanent paralysis at a hospital that is coincidentally treating COVID-19 patients would be entitled to immunity as long as the surgeon was not “gross[ly]” negligent or whose misconduct was not willful.

In short, the Illinois Governor’s Executive Order needlessly extends immunity protection to incompetent health care providers who harm patients, just because they work in hospitals or other health care facilities that treat COVID-19 patients, whether or not the incompetent health care providers were treating COVID-19 patients when they caused the harm.

Source

If you or a loved one may have a COVID-19 medical malpractice claim in the United States, you should promptly contact a COVID-19 medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your COVID-19 malpractice claim for you and represent you and/or your loved one in a COVID-19 medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 10th, 2020 at 5:24 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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