Not everybody is mourning the Ebola crisis running out of control in Liberia. Some see a business opportunity.
An ill wind blows from the small district of Lofa in Liberia. The media was delighted when they discovered that Lofa was also the place that HIV2 originated from – they were wrong as usual, but why let the facts stand in the way of a good story. It was a member of the family of the original victim in Guinea who travelled to Foya in Lofa and later died there.
No matter the details, now health authorities around the world are ‘girding their loins’ and preparing to do battle with this deadly disease – and the personal injury lawyers are preparing to do battle with the authorities…
Even before anything has ‘gone wrong’ with the preventative measures being taken to protect health workers in the UK, the lawyers are drawing up the heads of claims by which they may be able to get next year’s mortgage payments out of the NHS.
“Arguably, the NHS Litigation Authority should be issuing guidelines to hospitals and surgeries regarding liability, but I doubt they are.
Healthcare professionals will be the most vulnerable – liability will be established in those cases far more easily than it would be in relation to hospitals and third-party patients.”
Muiris Lyons. Head of clinical negligence at Stewarts Law – who is “expecting a significant number of employer’s liability claims from staff”.
“If equipment fails, then hospital staff and patients affected will have questions for the manufacturers” – manufacturers of high-tech protective clothing and specialist equipment are also likely to face claims.
Peter Rudd-Clarke, senior associate at City-based law firm RPC.
“Hospitals have got to have protocols if ebola spreads into the general population; protocols for what to do if possible ebola patients turn up in A&E or at GP surgeries or come into contact with ambulance staff” – to avoid being sued successfully for potentially hundreds of thousands if not millions of pounds.
Patricia Fearnley, a clinical negligence partner at Thomson Snell & Passmore.
“If the disease got out of hand and medical staff were completely overwhelmed and hospitals didn’t have enough isolation beds, then that would mitigate liability.”
What a relief – if we’re all dead the lawyers will be too…
Other than the obvious candidate of vaccine manufacturers, has anybody else seen any blatant examples of “it’s an ill wind”?