STATEMENT OF MSSNY PRESIDENT DR. BONNIE LITVACK, IN REACTION TO GOVERNOR SIGNING INTO LAW THAT ROLLS BACK COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
For Immediate Release
August 4, 2020
STATEMENT OF MSSNY PRESIDENT DR. BONNIE LITVACK,
IN REACTION TO GOVERNOR SIGNING INTO LAW
THAT ROLLS BACK COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTIONS
“We are deeply concerned with the consequences of the significant narrowing of these liability protections, particularly when there remains a very real possibility of a second surge of cases this fall. It will put our physicians and other health care workers, who not long ago were regularly lauded as ‘heroes’, into even more extraordinarily challenging circumstances. During the height of the pandemic, in many downstate hospitals, physicians and physicians in training were regularly being asked to provide health care services outside of their areas of expertise to help manage the overwhelming patient flow. They did so because of their dedication to helping all patients.
“We pray that such a drastic situation will not come again, but if it does, many physicians will again find themselves with the unimaginable choices of triaging which patients are to receive care first, knowing full well that this new law means that the “wrong choice” could result in that physician losing everything they own to a lawsuit. Moreover, this narrowing of these liability protections also puts a physician at much greater risk of a lawsuit if the state once again requires the postponement of elective surgeries to preserve resources for patients with Covid-19. This is a grossly unfair position in which to be placed.
“We are very concerned that the practical effect of this legislation will be that hospitals will face far more difficulties in attempting to manage a huge influx of patients in the event of a second surge. To paraphrase David Bowie, apparently our doctors were heroes just for one day.”
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Founded in 1807, the Medical Society of the State of New York is the state’s principal non-profit professional organization for physicians, residents and medical students of all specialties. Its mission is to represent the interests of patients and physicians to assure quality healthcare services for all.
Medical Society of the State of New York
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