Collateral Damage In The Wake of Covid-19: Were The Precautions Worth The Risk

by Kris Bonn

We are all going through a difficult time, none more so than our healthcare professionals. They are on the front line, putting themselves at risk to help others and our communities. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, doctors and hospitals cancelled elective surgeries and discharged patients to make room for the anticipated influx of COVID-19 patients. An influx that never materialized. While it is very good news that we were not inundated with COVID-19 patients, hospital operating rooms are 30 to 50 percent empty.

The reality is that there are many more victims of COVID-19 than those who are infected. The collateral damage may turn out to be worse than the direct impact of the virus itself.


The legal implications of preemptive hospital closures in anticipation of the Covid-19 crisis. 

There is no doubt that the province had to take extraordinary measures to protect the public. But these measures may come at the cost of many others who could not access timely healthcare. There may be some instances where the lack of medical treatment because of the provincial directive may cause permanent injury.

A question that remains unanswered is if the victims of this collateral damage will have any legal remedy.

Is there a viable medical malpractice action against a hospital for closing down fracture clinics, operating rooms and other clinics causing some people to not be able to access necessary healthcare? We don’t know at this time. What we do know is that we should not be refusing treatment to a person in need because of the anticipation of needing space to treat someone else. 


Kristian Bonn

Bonn Law