Malpractice

Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

By Michael Wong, JD (Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?

Here’s my question to you – “Who is Legally Liable for COVID-19?”

Some say China is liable – according to a Pew Research Center survey, more than 3 out of 4 Americans (78%) “place a great deal or fair amount of the blame for the global spread of the coronavirus on the Chinese government’s initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.”

And, while some may debate whether a nation like China or any other country can be held legally liable, the difficulty of overcoming sovereign immunity makes such considerations a rather pointless mind exercise – or, as is often said in law school, a moot point.

Rather, I ask this question at a far more micro level – is the nurse, doctor, or even the emergency responder liable to a patient who contracts, has an adverse event, or dies from COVID-19 when undergoing their care and treatment?

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Practices & Tips

Caregiving and Telehealth in the World of Coronavirus

By John Schall, CEO, Caregiver Action Network

Sophie’s dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer right as the pandemic shut down started.  There were a lot of doctor’s appointments and tests to keep track of, and Sophie really needed to be there for all of the appointments – there was no way that her 87-year-old dad could keep track of everything the doctors said. The in-person visits went well – the cancer center understood that she had to be there. But when the appointments became video appointments,  things got really complicated, really fast. Sophie got her father a webcam and taught him how to use it. But the first video appointment was set up as a FaceTime call – so Sophie had to teach her dad how to FaceTime. Then, there were a series of registration questions in some app that wouldn’t allow the text to appear large enough for her dad to read it, so Sophie took care of that, too. The next doctor wouldn’t let her join the video appointment unless she was in the same room as her dad. After several telehealth visits, it got easier and the benefits of not exposing her dad to COVID, outweighed the tech challenges. 

What is a video appointment? Is it the same as telehealth? Is this even a real doctor’s visit? Is it covered by insurance? What if my loved one doesn’t have a smart phone or a computer? 

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Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Patients Have Delayed or Not Seen a Doctor Because of COVID-19

A survey conducted by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety has found that patients have delayed or not seen a doctor because of COVID-19.

184 patients responded to the online survey conducted from August 25, 2020 to September 7, 2020.

Patients Are Concerned About Getting COVID-19

In response to the question, “How concerned are you of getting COVID-19?” approximately half of the respondents (45%) said that they were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19, while one in five of the respondents (20%) were not concerned or only slightly concerned.

However, fear of getting COVID-19 is particularly high in patients with atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases – more than nine of ten (92%) of whom were extremely concerned or moderately concerned. According to the CDC, patients diagnosed with cardiovascular disease may be at a greater risk of getting COVID-19. The high percentage of survey respondents being concerned about getting COVID-19 may reflect this CDC warning.

In comparison, reflective of the sentiments of all of the respondents, less than half (47%) of respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses were extremely concerned or moderately concerned about getting COVID-19. 

Patients Have Delayed Seeing a Doctor during COVID-19

About half of the respondents (44%) said that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers during this COVID pandemic. Unfortunately, this percentage was higher in respondents with cardiovascular disease, COPD, or other respiratory illnesses:

  • More than half of the respondents with atrial fibrillation or cardiovascular disease reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (53%). Studies have found that patients have delayed seeing a doctor, resulting in more at-home heart attacks and delayed ED visits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such delays are particularly significant for patients with atrial fibrillation or other cardiovascular diseases because such patients are at a higher risk of a heart attack.
  • Similarly, more than half of the respondents with COPD or other respiratory illnesses also reported that they had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during this COVID pandemic (51%).

These survey results echo researchers’ findings that more than 40% of US adults skipped medical care since COVID-19.

Additionally, more than half of the respondents reported that their family members (52%) had delayed or not gone to see a doctor during the COVID pandemic and more than a third of the respondents reported that they knew someone who had delayed or not gone to see a doctor, dentist, or other healthcare providers (35%).

To view our complete report on the survey, please click here.

 

Patient Safety, Physician-Patient Relationship

Establishing an Emotional Connection During COVID with Patients Despite Social Distancing

Editor’s note: Social distancing required during the current COVID pandemic has taken a toll on our social and mental health. Rei Lantion discusses the impact social distancing may have on us and what each of us can do about it.

By Rei Lantion, Freelance Writer, Editor & Social Media Strategist

Human beings are social beings. This is a fact. Even the most introverted crave human warmth every now and then. In times of fear, anxiety, and poor health, we are heavily dependent on relationships and the presence of other human beings. When we’re sick, we love it when our friends visit us. When we’re stressed from work, we round up our colleagues and head out for dinner and drinks.

That being said, practicing social distancing during a global health crisis is definitely not the most ideal situation. And here’s why:

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Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Exercising During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Editor’s note: Keeping physically active has a great many benefits and, during the current COVID-19 situation, physical activity is recommended for emotional and mental health, as well as to boost your immune system. However, as everyone’s different, please speak with your doctor about finding the right level of fitness activity for you. 

By Michael Wong (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety), Lynn G. Razzano, RN, MSN, ONC, CMSRN (Clinical Nurse Consultant, PPAHS), and Thereza B. Ayad, RN, MSN, DNP, CNOR (Clinical Nurse Consultant, PPAHS)

One of the questions we’ve received on the chat line and which we’d like to share the answer to is about exercising during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This is a question that many have probably asked themselves.

There are many benefits to staying physically active, particularly following surgery. However, during the current COVID-19 circumstances that require social distancing and have necessitated the closure of facilities – particularly gyms, pools, and parks – staying physically active can be especially challenging.

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Blood Clots, Patient Safety

FREE Patient-to-Nurse Chat Line

Please do not ask questions about your health in the comment section or include any personal information about yourself. If you’d like a confidential chat with us, please go to our Virtual Patient Care website, by clicking here.

Virtual Patient Care is a free online service where patients can speak with experienced registered nurses and get personalized answers to their questions. 

In this video by Michael Wong, Founder and Executive Director of the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety explains what prompted the Physician-Patient Alliance and its cardiovascular partners – American Heart Association, AC Forum, Heart Rhythm Society, StopAfib.org, Mended Hearts, and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association – to establish a nursing chat line:

“During the current COVID-19 conditions, patients face the burdens of social distancing and increased difficulty in reaching clinicians busy with emergencies. To meet the pressing needs of patients during this COVID pandemic, the Physician-Patient Alliance, with an unrestricted grant from the BMS-Pfizer Alliance, and our cardiovascular partners recently launched a free virtual patient care website and chat line.”

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Blood Clots, Patient Safety

Blood Clots in COVID Patients

Editor’s note: Blood clots are occurring in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. This article offers some of the key treatments and recommendations you may experience when admitted to hospital and then discharged home. As well, it discusses the interim clinical guidance from the Anticoagulation Forum.

By Michael Wong (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety)

An average of 274 people die from blood clots – which works out to about one death every six minutes. These statistics are pre-COVID statistics.

Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this may be changing. There have been reports about the development of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with COVID-19. The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis has collected a number of studies and case reports on thrombosis in COVID-19 patients, and the Journal of American College of Cardiology released a review of current understanding, citing many of the studies and case reports which are on the ISTH site. 

This COVID-19 pandemic is proving a challenge for clinicians to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The interim clinical guidance from the Anticoagulation Forum (AC Interim Guidance) discusses the challenges of diagnosing a thrombotic event in COVID patients:

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Blood Clots, Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

COVID-19 Patients Are at a Greater Risk of Blood Clots

Editor’s note: Our understanding of COVID-19 symptomatology is evolving as the current pandemic unfolds. The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis has collected a number of studies and case reports on thrombosis in COVID-19 patients. The Journal of American College of Cardiology released a review of current understanding, citing many of the studies and case reports which are on the ISTH site. This COVID-19 pandemic challenges us to use current knowledge and innovate new approaches to care for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. This article seeks to summarize some of the current knowledge about thrombosis in COVID-19 patients, knowing that future studies and case reports will undoubtedly refine the statements made below. However, this is science, continually evolving and improving based on current understanding. With that, this article offers some insights about VTE in patients admitted to the hospital who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

By Michael Wong (Founder/Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety), Laurie Paletz, BSN PHN RN BC SCRN (Manager, Stroke Program Department of Neurology, Cedars-Sinai), and Thereza B. Ayad, RN, MSN, DNP, CNOR (Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School-Graduate School of Nursing; Surgical Services Clinical Staff Educator, North Shore Medical Center)

(reviewed by Sue Koob, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and Pat Salber, MD, MBA, Editor-in-Chief, DoctorWeighsIn)

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