Wrongful Hospital COVID Deaths: Can You Now Sue?


Many of you might know someone—a friend or a beloved family member—who tragically passed away from COVID after being hospitalized, despite being perfectly healthy before contracting the virus. These individuals often received no early treatment and ended up in emergency rooms where they were treated with ineffective drugs like remdesivir, subsequently deteriorating, then placed on ventilators, and ultimately, their conditions worsened dramatically.

In this week’s FLCCC Webinar, there’s promising news: a group of astute attorneys has begun to find legal pathways that may allow families who’ve suffered such losses to seek justice. Tune in to hear about astounding legal progress on two fronts:

Scott Mantel & Attorney Steve Warshawsky: Talking about their recent legal breakthrough getting around the PREP Act in the heartbreaking case of Scott’s departed wife, Deborah Bucko.

Attorney Warner Mendenhall & Kathryn Huwig: Discussing their nonprofit initiative, Freedom Counsel, which seeks justice for victims of negligence or wrongful death during the COVID era.

Legal Breakthrough in COVID-19 Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If any wrongful death case merits legal justice, it is certainly that of Deborah Bucko.

In summary, Bucko contracted COVID-19 and rapidly deteriorated after being admitted to a hospital in New York. Despite Mantel’s advocacy for ivermectin, based on its effectiveness in similar cases, the hospital refused to administer it. After she was placed on a ventilator, her condition worsened, and despite obtaining a legal order to use ivermectin, hospital doctors blocked its administration, ultimately contributing to her tragic death.

While attending the COVID litigation Conference in 2023, Mantel met attorney Steve Warshawky. Since then, the two have been working on a lawsuit. As Warshawky explains:

“One of the things that struck me was how they had, in fact, gotten a judge two times to order the ivermectin to be used, and each time the hospital just kept interfering with the ability of the attending physician to treat this patient who was in such a dire situation. So we ended up filing a wrongful death suit here in the state court in New York.”

Getting Around The PREP Act

When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits aimed at hospitals, the most common defense involves something called the PREP Act. Short for Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act, it grants legal immunity to companies and individuals involved in the development, manufacture, and distribution of medical countermeasures against public health emergencies. This protection covers vaccines, treatments, and medical devices, shielding these parties from liability claims.

Attorney Steve Warshawsky is arguing that the PREP Act should not apply in the case of Deborah Bucko because there was a distinct “failure to treat”.

There’s a pretty large consensus that the [PREP] act actually doesn’t apply to the failure to treat somebody or the failure to administer some kind of beneficial treatment to a patient. [The hospital] took the very broad position that said, essentially, anytime you’re treating a COVID-19 patient, anything you do or do not do, is covered by the PREP Act. And I think we have the stronger argument and thankfully the judge agreed, and so she issued a decision a few weeks ago where she denied their motion. And very importantly, she articulated this failure to act distinction under the prep act.

The case is not yet won, but it has leaped over the giant hurdle that is the PREP Act. This victory is significant, not only for Deborah Bucko’s case, but potentially for more cases in the future. Though still early, Warshawsky is confident this case has strong potential:

“I think it’ll come down ultimately, as a lot of malpractice cases do, to a question and that question will have to be answered by the jury. And I’m confident that a jury will see that whatever their attitudes might be about the vaccine, about ivermectin, about any of these things, I think any regular normal person can see that in this situation, you try what you can, and you don’t deliberately impede the effort of a physician to help a dying patient. And that’s really what the evidence shows happened here.”

If you are interested in supporting Scott Mantel’s wrongful death suit, here is a GiveSendGo where you can do so.

A New Force for Medical Freedom

As we see with the challenges posed by the PREP Act, navigating the legal landscape requires innovative strategies. This necessity for innovation brings us to the efforts of Freedom Counsel, a group spearheaded by Warner Mendenhall and Kathryn Huwig, which focuses on broader systemic changes necessary to support those impacted by such legal hurdles. As Mendenhall says:

“We find ourselves in a with a very, very powerful army of people. And that’s what Kathryn and I certainly want to address tonight. There’s how do we activate that army? What can people do on their own because there’s not enough lawyers? And then what can they do in conjunction with lawyers and doctors and other medical professionals?”

Mendenhall says they’ve been working on establishing some legal pathways that both citizens and attorneys can adapt:

  • Medical Billing Fraud (duplicate billing, improper services, billing for services not rendered)
  • False Claims Act (regarding the misuse of Remdesivir in patients with kidney or liver disease)
  • Failure to Report Vaccine Injuries to VAERS
  • Pathways Around the PREP Act
  • Pharmacy Benefit Managers (who opt for ineffective medicines that offer the highest incentives/rebates from manufacturers)

At its core, Freedom Counsel is an organization intent on uniting disparate groups to become a powerful force for legal justice. Co-Founder Kathryn Huwig explains:

“We have all these people who are so important to this process, but everybody’s siloed and to move litigation forward, we need to have those silos be broken open. We need to really connect, we need to use the skills and the knowledge of each group and put them together.”

Mendenhall is optimistic that bringing attorneys, experts, and victims together will yield results:

I just want people to know your records show a fraud that was perpetrated on the United States taxpayer and in many, many ways, and that’s what those records are going to show us. What we have found underlying all this obviously is money. And when you have money, you have fraud, and when you have fraud, you have a crime.

Advancing Justice in Healthcare

These cases are not just about seeking justice for the individuals affected, but they are also about challenging systemic failings and sparking significant reform in healthcare and legal practices.

With each legal victory and every case brought to light, we edge closer to a fairer system where medical ethics and justice are not just expected, but are also enforced.

This article is part of the COVID-19 and Legal series: Read more of the COVID-19 and Legal series here >  COVID and Legal series.


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