Do Not Open Floodgates for Lawsuits Against Frontline Heroes

For Immediate Release

July 30, 2020


Do Not Open Floodgates for Lawsuits Against Frontline Heroes

Statement Attributable to:
Bonnie Litvack, MD
President, Medical Society of the State of New York


“We urge Governor Cuomo to veto legislation (S.8835/A.10840) that could potentially open up the floodgates to lawsuits against doctors and other front line care providers for factors beyond their control in the event a “second wave” of the pandemic hits New York.  MSSNY together with 13 specialty societies together representing tens of thousands of physicians across the State of New York sent a letter raising profound concerns with this bill.

“This legislation would significantly weaken very important liability protections initially established by Governor Cuomo in an Executive Order and then codified in the State Budget.  As hospitals faced an unending flow of patients during the height of the pandemic in March and April, these protections were critically important to helping build physician capacity in health care systems in the hard hit New York City metropolitan region. Many physicians, nurses and other care providers were re-directed from their usual areas of focus to handle the influx of patients, both those with Covid-19 and those who did not have it but needed to be immediately treated.  These physicians and other care providers faced a significant risk of infection to themselves and to their families because often they did not have sufficient protective equipment.

“New York’s success at greatly reducing the transmission of coronavirus was the product of teamwork across many levels.  But with many other states witnessing a surge of cases, including some states where their hospitals are reaching their capacity, it is a distinct possibility we could see another wave hit New York.  It is therefore very possible that we could see again see circumstances of physicians needing to provide care to patients outside their specialty, as well as another requirement that physicians postpone elective surgeries and other critical diagnostic tests in order to prioritize health care resources for those patients in most immediate need.  To place these physicians at greater risk of lawsuits for factors far beyond their control is grossly unfair.

“Again, we urge Governor Cuomo to veto this legislation”

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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.


Press Contact:
Roseann Raia
Medical Society of the State of New York
865 Merrick Ave
Westbury, NY 11590
516.488.6100 x302