The United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a wrongful death action filed by the family of a patient who died from COVID-19 while admitted to a Washington, D.C. hospital. When the elderly patient first came to the hospital, she had symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but her test for the virus was negative. On her seventh day in the hospital, a repeat COVID-19 test was positive, and thereafter her condition quickly deteriorated, ultimately culminating in her death. The family sued for medical malpractice, alleging that the hospital negligently failed to shield their loved one from the virus and then failed to properly care for her once she was diagnosed. The hospital responded with a Motion to Dismiss relying on D.C. Code 7-311(a)(1) (expired Feb. 4, 2022), which provides immunity from negligence to healthcare providers who render care or treatment to a potential, suspected, or diagnosed individual with COVID-19. The court agreed with the hospital that the immunity statute barred the lawsuit.
The hospital was represented by Janet A. Forero, Sean Gugerty, and Kaitlyn Holzer of Goodell, DeVries, Leech & Dann in Baltimore.