Long COVID leaves health care providers vulnerable to liability risks

Long COVID, with its varying and unpredictable symptoms and no known cure, leaves health care providers vulnerable to liability risks stemming from misdiagnoses, medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Co. said in a report released Tuesday.

With little information available, health care providers “are facing an uphill battle when it comes to providing adequate care to long COVID patients,” the Napa, California-based insurer said.

The absence “of a standard set of interventions” leaves them at risk of malpractice litigation as a result of not recognizing that a patient has long COVID or of diagnosing long COVID when the patient has another serious disease, it said.

Health care providers are also at risk of “not recognizing a complication from long COVID and from failing to refer a long COVID patient to a specialist,” the report said.

This risk can be reduced with good documentation and communication with patients, and by taking patients’ complaints seriously and providing a “personalized medicine approach,” the insurer said.

A recent survey found that more than two years into the pandemic most Americans still underestimate long COVID’s prevalence.

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