As virologists and epidemiologists theorize how Covid-19, the disease caused by the Novel Coronavirus (SARS – CoV2), may impact our health, physicians around Chicago are learning first hand how the virus really works. Just this past week, doctors from the University of Chicago released data showing the promise of a drug named Remdesivir that could potentially save countless lives across the globe. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/04/17/remdesivir-coronavirus-drug-gilead-sciences-covid-19-treatment/5150793002/ It is becoming more apparent that the work of physicians treating infected patients is producing the most practical information about symptoms and how to treat the disease. For example, researchers basically provided doctors and nurses with fever, dry cough, and trouble breathing/shortness of breath as the tell-tale signs. With the experience gained in the care and treatment of patients, we know now that many Covid patients present with a loss of smell and taste as one of the most common symptoms. Besides discovering symptoms that global health care organizations seemed unaware of, doctors are essentially re-engineering many standards of care to save lives. Whereas in the past, the standard ventilation procedure would usually involve sedation early on, it is now becoming common practice that Covid patients probably need to be kept off ventilation as long as possible with moving the patient onto his or her stomach, sides, and back.
Because of the rapidly changing standards of care, doctors in Illinois treating Covid-19 patients during this difficult time are even being protected from litigation by an Executive Order by Governor Pritzker. https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/Executive-Orders/ExecutiveOrder2020-19.aspx However, Illinois’ protections for physicians did not stop there. In addition to shielding doctors from malpractice while treating infected patients, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission gave doctors an evidentiary advantage in filing their own workers’ compensation claims when doctors contract Covid-19. https://wcla.info/resources/Documents/COVID-19%20Page/Notice_of_Emergency_Amendments–2020-04-13.pdf This rule means that if a doctor contracts Covid-19 during this pandemic, it is presumed that it came from their work treating sick patients. This is crucial for doctors’ rights as employees of large hospitals and clinics because doctors are falling ill due to their job duties. Many doctors are dying and many doctors will have long-term health issues that impair their ability to practice medicine. The Illinois Workers Compensation Act was designed to provide disability benefits, payment for medical expenses, and awards and settlements for permanent injuries of all types. The Act also provides benefits in the event of death and for long-term wage loss. Considering that Covid causes lung scarring, various damage to the heart, and both lung and kidney damage, it is apparent that doctors who are injured on the job will have the right to claim benefits for these types of injuries. Up until recent times, doctors were not in a line of employment that put them at risk of injury very often, but that has changed in just a matter of months. More doctors are looking into their rights to file claims against their employers and many are contacting Chicago workers compensation lawyers because falling ill on the job is impacting their livelihoods.
Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz Friedman are currently investigating Covid-19 cases on behalf of sick doctors and nurses. When making decisions regarding a work injury from Covid, it is wise to consult an attorney to protect your interests because it is clear that the employers already have their lawyers working on this issue to defeat your claim. If you or someone you know works in the health care field and suffers from COVID-19, the attorneys and staff of Katz Friedman are here to help with obtaining proper compensation.