``For example, this bill would give health care providers and
the facilities that employ them broad immunity every time an
emergency or disaster is declared, regardless of whether the
circumstances demand this extreme measure,'' Whitmer said. ``A
person receiving treatment at a hospital or a resident in a
nursing home would be powerless to seek relief when they are
harmed in any but the most egregious cases.''
The legislation was supported by hospitals, doctors, nurses and
nursing homes but opposed by plaintiffs' lawyers.
One of the statutes Whitmer has cited to declare the virus
emergency _ the underpinning of her various orders to curb the
spread of COVID-19—includes a provision shielding health
providers and hospitals from legal liability except if there is
willful or gross negligence. But the immunity is in question
because majority Republican legislators have not lengthened the
state of disaster and in July rescinded an order that granted
The governor instead has been able to extend the emergency with
an older law that allows her to act unilaterally but which does
not reference legal protections.
The bill sponsor, Republican Sen. Michael MacDonald of Macomb
Township, issued a statement that accused Whitmer of
deciding ``to protect trial lawyers instead of the front-line
health care workers who are making critical decisions each day
to save lives from COVID-19. By vetoing this measure, the
governor is just making it harder for medical professionals to
do their job.''
Also Monday, the state reported eight more coronavirus-related
deaths and 557 new confirmed cases. The total number of
confirmed and probable deaths was 6,526, the ninth-most in the
country and the eight-highest rate per capita. The case count
Michigan's seven-day case average, 710—below the peaks of April
but above the lows in June—has remained mostly constant over the
past two weeks, according to an Associated Press analysis of
data from John Hopkins University.