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In the state of Washington can you sue a physician for pain and suffering?

Sammamish, WA |

My 16 year old daughter was sick for about a year. We took her to multiple doctors and have records for a nine month time frame. Her symptoms, among many, were chest pains, itching skin and fatigue. No xrays were ever done, no blood work was ever done, only diagnostics were EKG, strep and mono (even with repeatedly chest pain). She couldn't even walk up the stairs . We finally took her to a new doctor and she was finally diagnosed within one day with Hodgkins Lymphoma, which she had all the classical symptoms for a year. On numerous occasions she was offered anxiety medicine for the itchy skin and pain medicine for the chest pain. The doctors had her believing It was all in her head, that she was being a dramatic teenager and the next step was to see a hypnotist.

I do not understand. Why can't you sue a doctor for pain and suffering or does that only fall under medical malpractice?

Attorney Answers 8


  1. I am sorry to hear about your daughter's condition. You need to see a local medical malpractice attorney right away. Try the Find A Lawyer section on this website.

    Your post is in the Pain and Suffering category when it should really be listed in the Medical Malpractice section. Good luck to you and I hope your daughter has a speedy recovery.


  2. I am so sorry for this. I have had nonhodgkins lymphona and it is a total sledgehammer to the psyche. I was an adult so cannot begin to imagine how you and your daughter are coping. I cannot tell without more information if I feel you have a med mal case. Call a PI attorney or several to get opinions right away.


  3. Very sorry to hear of this situation - immediately consult a local med-mal attorney. many offer a free initial consultation best wishes

    This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


  4. I am sorry to hear about your ordeal.

    You can recover for pain and suffering - if you can establish that the first doctor's actions (or inaction) were below the standard of care.

    To do that you will need an expert medical opinion. A personal injury attorney can help find such an expert.

    This answer is based on limited information provided and is not a substitute for legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is created. To protect your interests it is best to seek a private consultation with an attorney.


  5. Medical Malpractice claims can be difficult and expensive. The issue here is whether those doctors who saw her acted within the standard of care for a physician of that specialty and practice within our area. Did the delay in the diagnosis cause the disease to progress further than if it had been diagnosed right away. I know nothing of Hodgkins Lymphoma but normally you would need a medical opinion as to whether not the inactions of the other doctors made her worse. You should consult with an attorney that emphasizes medical malpractice in their practice such as Maria Diamond or Carol Johnstone.


  6. I'm sorry your daughter had to endure a year of pain and suffering with no clear diagnosis. As has been pointed out, medical malpractice is defined as a departure from the standard of care for a given specialty in your community.

    Your daughter's case would be a failure to diagnose case. The ultimate issue is whether the delay in diagnosis caused the condition to progress to a place it would not have reached had a timely, proper diagnosis been made. By way of example, if a melanoma is at T1a (stage II) when a patient presents (no lymph node involvement), but a diagnosis is not made until it reached stage IIIC with metastatic lymph nodes, it can easily be said that the delay in diagnosis was a material departure from the standard of care, and thus malpractice has been committed.

    You must see a local malpractice attorney. He or she will review your records and usually have an expert physician review them and render an opinion. Please do not delay in seeing a lawyer. I hope your daughter feels better.

    We are serious lawyers for the seriously injured. I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not legal advice. These opinions are thoughts based on New York practice. We have no attorney-client relationship. Conducting a conversation with me through the avvo comments section does not create an attorney-client relationship. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.


  7. You can have a malpractice lawyer order the medical records to investigate


  8. Washington law defines pain and suffering as both mental and physical, and shall include all subjective non-monetary losses, including but not limited to, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional distress, which has been experienced and with reasonable probability to be experienced in the future. See WPI 30.01; WPI 30.05; RCW 4.56.250.

    Any accident and legal information provided by Davis Law Group to non-clients is for general information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created or maintained without a signed written agreement between the client and the law firm.

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