Earlier this week, a Spokane, Washington medical malpractice jury returned a verdict in the amount of $813,000 in favor of a woman who had to have her foot amputated due to the medical negligence of her physician. The woman’s Washington State medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that in March 2004, the woman went to a physician who diagnosed her as having terminal cancer when she actually had pneumonia, which caused her to lapse into a coma. As a result of the misdiagnosis that she had cancer, the woman had to have her left foot amputated.
An unusual and sad aspect of the woman’s medical malpractice case is that it was originally tried before a Washington medical malpractice jury in 2008 that found in favor of the defendant doctor but a mistrial was declared. Two of the jurors revealed to the trial judge that during jury deliberations that resulted in the defense verdict on December 7, 2008 (the anniversary of the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to the United States entering World War II), five of the jurors were referring to the plaintiff’s lawyer, who was of Japanese descent, as “Mr. Kamikaze” and “Mr. Miyagi” (from the “The Karate Kid” movie). The trial judge decided that it was in the interest of fairness and justice that the case be re-tried in front of another, unbiased jury.
The second jury determined that the physician had committed medical malpractice and awarded the plaintiff damages for her past and future medical bills, her lost wages, her pain and suffering, and for loss of consortium due to her injuries.
The medical malpractice defendant, who retired from his practice on February 27, 2011 after being licensed to practice medicine in Washington State since June 30, 1969, is no stranger to complaints and inquiries regarding the medical care he provided. In 2007, the doctor had been fined twice: once for failing over the course of six years to diagnose his patient’s rectal cancer and the second time for failing to diagnose his patient’s cardiac symptoms that led to a heart attack. In 2009, the same doctor was fined $2,000 by the Washington State Quality Assurance Commission for prescribing methadone to several drug addicts, including a 24-year-old man who overdosed and died. In 2008, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency stopped the doctor from being able to prescribe methadone to addicted patients.
The lawyer for the doctor in the medical malpractice case stated that the Washington State sanctions against the doctor had no bearing on the doctor’s decision to retire from the practice of medicine.
To read about the proceedings against the doctor in 2007 and in 2009, click here to proceed to the website of the Washington Department of Health that contains links to the various statements of charges and orders concerning the doctor.
If you or someone you know may be the victim of medical negligence in Washington State or elsewhere in the United States, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Washington medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be able to answer your medical malpractice questions for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim, if appropriate.
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