The spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has affected virtually every sector of Canadian society. Here at Neinstein, for example, our physical offices are closed, but our team of medical malpractice lawyers are continuing work on existing claims and accepting new clients. Of course, nobody has been more affected by the pandemic than our frontline healthcare workers, the nurses, doctors, first responders, and support staff working tirelessly to care for people who have contracted the virus.

As medical malpractice lawyers know, hospitals across the province have been operating near or at capacity for months. Overcrowding in Ontario hospitals leads to a higher risk of errors and infections and contributes to fatigue and burnout among staff. As emergency rooms grapple with an influx of COVID-19 patients, the situation is expected to deteriorate.

Across the country, patients are being asked to put medical procedures on hold in order to free up hospital beds. In the Maritimes, for example, health authorities have restricted or suspended certain medical services, including elective outpatient visits, same-day and elective surgeries, and non-urgent diagnostic imaging, according to CTV News Atlantic.

This is the tip of the iceberg. In Toronto, one of Canada’s COVID-19 epicentres, the University Health Network has put lung transplants on hold, except in cases of critical deterioration. Joint surgeries have also been delayed in parts of the country, prolonging patients’ chronic pain. As Carla Adams, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, told CTV, medical experts are already having to make tough decisions.

“There may be delays for many patients needing cancer surgery,” she said. “A committee of expert cancer surgeons will make prioritizing decisions, considering all aspect of the surgery involved.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is an international crisis. Reversing the virus’ spread in Canada will require sacrifices from everyone, including patients requiring unrelated treatment. However, the healthcare system is still responsible for looking after these patients. As the crisis lingers, and as the healthcare system begins to recover after the worst has passed, it will be critical that vulnerable patients do not slip through the cracks. Every patient in Canada understands the immense challenges that healthcare workers are facing, but nobody deserves to suffer as a result of a missed or delayed diagnosis, even in unprecedented times.

If you or a member of your family has been injured in a medical setting, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers is online and available to discuss your claim. We will remain open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure injury victims receive the representation they require.


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Greg Neinstein