In May of 2020, North Carolina enacted a temporary law that grants healthcare providers immunity from malpractice and negligence lawsuits due to the strain of the coronavirus pandemic and its unpredictable impact on staffing and services. Since then, what’s known as the Emergency and Disaster Treatment Protection Act, has been leveraged by companies, most notably nursing homes, to avoid accountability and litigation for negligence and malpractice. This has further enabled neglect and abuse in nursing homes and is outlined in an article for The Washington Post, with Henson Fuerst Partner Carma Henson quoted for commentary.
Perpetuated Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Thirty-eight states have now enacted emergency orders and laws that grant immunity to companies and individuals for pandemic-related care. This means that doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities are not held legally liable for COVID-related shortcomings. Unfortunately, because of the measures in place, many unethical practices by nursing homes and assisted living facilities are being covered up and enabled by this change in legislation. Even before the pandemic, these companies have had a reputation for cutting corners and understaffing facilities. This has only been further exacerbated by the pandemic and protections in place.
The Detriments of Understaffing
Short staffing and other practices intended to save money for nursing home corporations can be particularly detrimental. Because of this, nursing home and long-term care facility residents do not receive adequate care, protection, or security, leading to gross negligence and significant harm to residents. As Henson wrote to the Washington Post, “in nursing home litigation, you almost always find the reason bad things happen in nursing homes is because these facilities are understaffed.”
Carma Henson has been a partner with Henson Fuerst since 1999. She has an extensive history of representing victims of abuse, neglect, and harm, focusing on nursing home litigation. According to Henson, “it’s absolutely necessary to protect elderly people who have given to us all of their lives. Now it’s our turn to take care of them.”
Fatalities Continue to Rise
Now, to date, 185,000 people in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have died of COVID-19. The numbers continue to rise, further rendering the victims and their families helpless. At Henson Fuerst, we work tirelessly to bring families answers and justice for the undue suffering of their loved ones. If you or a loved one have been harmed due to healthcare provider negligence, call us toll-free at 919-781-1107 or submit a form on our website for a free consultation. To us, your case and your loved one’s story matters.