November 26, 2020

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Woman Wins 1st Stage of Virus Lawsuit Against UK Government

A woman whose elderly father died in an England care home won Thursday

World News Breaking News

A woman whose elderly father died in an England care home won Thursday the first stage of a lawsuit against the British government over alleged failures to protect nursing home residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government and health authorities had asked the High Court to dismiss the case, but Justice Thomas Linden granted Cathy Gardner permission for a full hearing of her legal challenge. The judge said he considered it “in the interests of justice for the claim to be heard.”

Gardner’s father, Michael Gibson, died at the Oxfordshire County care home in April. The cause of his death was recorded as “probably COVID.”

Gardner argued that her father was one of an estimated 20,000 care home residents in Britain who lost their lives to the coronavirus during the spring and that many of the deaths could have been prevented if the government had acted differently.

“Rather than protect them, the government made their care homes a death trap,” she wrote on a website where she was seeking crowdfunding for her lawsuit.

Gardner’s lawyer, Jason Coppel, said the British government’s lack of timely and adequate measures to protect vulnerable care home residents was “one of the most egregious and devastating policy failures of recent times.” He argued that the decision to discharge hospital patients into care homes without testing or quarantine arrangements allowed the virus to spread.

Lawyers for the government and health authorities argued that hospital discharges were not a key cause or driver of coronavirus infections in care homes.

Gardner said she expected a trial to take place next spring.

The Associated Press and the Canadian Press. All rights are reserved.

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Notes from APS Radio News

Allegations against a number of governors in the U.S. have been made, concerning similar matters.

A number of allegations have been made against particular governors; accusers have said that earlier this year they mandated that nursing homes accept patients who had contracted the virus.

For example, back in May AP News reported:

“More than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press.

AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York’s Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete.”

A number of observers have said that up to 45% of those who died of the virus died in similar facilities, in states where covid patients were transferred from hospitals to nursing homes, according to reports.