Success in a medical malpractice case in Washington state requires proving three seemingly straightforward things. It must be shown that:
- An injury occurred
- The accepted standard of care was breached
- The breach and the injury are connected
Within these three categories, however, the law becomes complex and nuanced. A breach in the standard of care is not always obvious. There may be clear wrongdoing, such as when a surgeon operates on the wrong body part or an oncologist diagnoses pneumonia when it’s really cancer. But, more commonly, the negligence is not so glaring.
Four Less-Than-Obvious Examples of Negligence
1. You weren’t told about the risks and possible alternatives.
- The nature of the ailment
- Both the recommended and alternative treatment options
- The risks associated with both options
That means that even if your doctor told you about the risks of one procedure, if he or she did not tell you about other options, you were not adequately informed. Or, perhaps you were told about your options, but the risks described were not honestly represented.
2. Your physician did not provide standard follow-up care.
If you have surgery or a serious change in medication, your physician needs to provide you with follow-up care. This can be as simple as stating that you need to make a follow-up appointment or making a phone call to ensure that everything is going well. If you fail to make that appointment or to inform your doctor of complications, then it probably is not malpractice. If you are not given follow-up information, however, it could be doctor negligence.
3. Your malady was not diagnosed.
Misdiagnosis is an all-too-common occurrence. Within this category is non-diagnosis. If your physician misses something that such a professional is reasonably expected to catch, it may be negligence. Ways a doctor can breach the standard of care and miss a diagnosis include:
- Not asking a crucial question
- Not realizing the significance of a symptom
- Not ordering necessary labwork
- Misreading test results
4. Your physician failed to respond to complications.
Medical treatment comes with risks, and complications may arise even when everything is done properly. Improper healing of bones or surgical incisions, secondary infections, blood clots and psychological issues are just a few examples of possible complications from medical procedures and medications. Your physician should be aware of these possibilities and be ready to respond to them should they arise. Failure to do so may constitute negligence.
Malpractice Cases Require Experience
Medical negligence is a complicated issue to prove. For those who are victims of medical malpractice, however, filing a lawsuit can provide closure as well as the financial resources to deal with the aftermath, which often includes hefty expenses.
But you don’t want to hire just any attorney. At Perey Law Group, we are dedicated to seeking justice for the victims of medical malpractice, and we have experience taking on these difficult cases and winning large settlements for our clients. If you or a loved one was injured and you suspect medical malpractice, please contact us immediately. We provide a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your legal options.