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Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a form of negligence — involving the failure of a medical professional (doctor, nurse, medical technician, psychiatrist, hospital, dentist or other health-care provider) to use adequate levels of care, skill or diligence in the performance of his or her professional duties — that causes injury. The determination of whether a medical professional met his or her duty of care is based upon the standard of care for the professional in their community, i.e., what other professionals in the same field and geographical area do for their patients. In the case of a doctor who is a medical specialist, the standard of care is determined by the standard of good medical practice in that specialty within the community. 

It is important to remember that the duty of a medical professional is not the duty to cure, or even to guarantee a good outcome from treatment. Medical malpractice does not occur every time medical treatment is not successful. Rather, the duty is to provide good medical care according to accepted standards in that medical specialty. Medicine is not an exact science, and doctors are not required to be right every time they make a diagnosis. A misdiagnosis can be arrived at even when all proper tests are performed accurately or are evaluated by a skilled doctor with the utmost care. A misdiagnosis becomes malpractice, however, if the doctor fails to get a medical history, to order the appropriate tests, or to recognize observable symptoms of the illness. In Washington, to prove that you were injured because of the failure of a health-care provider, you must show: (1) The health-care provider failed to exercise a duty of care, and (2) The failure was the proximate cause of the injury. 

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of possible medical malpractice, call the Law Office of Charles J. Brocato at 253-851-9164 or e-mail.