Spokane Woman Gets Second Chance, Finally Gets Compensated

The doctor said “terminal cancer” when, in reality, Spokane resident Darlene Turner had pneumonia. The pneumonia later caused her to fall into a coma, and she had to have her foot amputated. This may seem like a cut-and-dry case of medical malpractice, but the first time it went to trial, the jury decided in favor of the physician, The Spokesman-Review reported last week.

How could that happen?

Misdiagnosis is Not Enough

Misdiagnosis itself is not enough to claim malpractice. According to Washington law, one of the following must be proven with substantial evidence:

  • The injury resulted from the failure of a health care provider to follow the accepted standard of care.
  • That a health care provider promised the patient or his or her representative that the injury suffered would not occur.
  • That injury resulted from health care to which the patient or his or her representative did not consent.

In Turner’s case, injury could not be more evident. Pneumonia is a serious and potentially fatal illness. The misdiagnosis delayed treatment, causing her to slip into a coma and lose her foot. The case, therefore, rested on whether or not the misdiagnosis qualified as a breach in the standard of care.

The standard of care refers to the standard exercised by a reasonable professional in the same area of expertise. Proving it was not met requires testimony from experts in the field to demonstrate that the doctor missed something he should have caught.

The first jury did not agree that a breach in the standard of care was satisfactorily proven. Such a verdict is a reminder that even egregious injury in not enough to guarantee a medical malpractice suit victory.

A Mistrial Gives Case a Second Look

The legal system is full with complexities and there are rules for the conduct of jurors as well as for attorneys and judges. Due to some questionable comments made by several of the jurors, the judge declared a mistrial due to juror misconduct and Turner’s case got a second chance. This time, the outcome was different. Although pneumonia and certain cancers share symptoms, this is well-known and the doctor should have been more thorough in his examination and diagnosis. The jury awarded Turner $813,000 in damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

We Are Experienced in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Proving medical malpractice is no easy feat. The attorneys at Perey Law Group have considerable experience with medical malpractice cases. We know how to recognize and prove injury and negligence. If you or a loved one has suffered injury at the hands of a a medical professional you may be eligible for compensation.

Please contact us immediately to discuss your legal options with one of our experienced attorneys. We provide a free consultation, so act now. There is a time limit on filing a lawsuit.

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