Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet

Medical Malpractice. It's All We Do. 206-443-8600

Seattle Pain Centers shut down amid allegations its medical director was not properly monitoring narcotic prescriptions

Posted Thursday, September 8, 2016 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

Recently our office has received a number of calls from former patients of Seattle Pain Centers and Dr. Frank Li. As you may have read (and can do so here and here), Dr. Li’s medical license was suspended recently, leaving many patients in a lurch with regard to how they can continue to have their medications filled.

Fortunately for the folks who I have spoken with, no serious harm has occurred due to any alleged malpractice on the part of Dr. Li or others at Seattle Pain Centers. Most of the time, people are having difficulty finding another provider to manage their pain medication. The problem was big enough for the Washington State Department of Health to issue a Seattle Pain Center Provider Alert urging doctors to accept and treat such patients.

Of course, many folks are calling to see whether they have a case. Unfortunately, unless an allegation of negligence causes significant injury, a viable case likely doesn’t exist. These calls highlight the different issues personal injury (and particularly medical negligence) attorneys face versus, for example, the Department of Health. The callers and the DOH are oftentimes focused on the alleged bad actions of the doctor in question, and less on what those bad actions caused.

Doctors can be horribly negligent, but if no harm occurs as a result, it is not a case I can take on. One example I like to give is if a truck driver is going 30 miles over the speed limit, is high on drugs and runs through a red light, that is unquestionably negligent. But if he doesn’t hit anyone, there is no harm caused by it.

Certainly, folks at the DOH are right to investigate and, if necessary, discipline doctors and other health care providers who act in a negligent manner, because that contributes to the health and safety of all Washingtonians. But without a direct link between the bad action and injury, it is not a medical negligence case.

Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet
115 NE 100th St #220, Seattle, WA 98125 US
Phone: 206-443-8600
Fax: 206-443-6904