Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet

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

Surgical Malpractice

Surgical malpractice can be among the most difficult of cases to prove. Most surgeries have known risks or complications described in the medical literature, and the defense usually argues these problems can occur even in the absence of negligence. Surgical consent forms usually have a litany of surgical problems that can occur, including damage to nerves or vessels, bleeding, and even death. That does not mean complications cannot be a result of negligence, but it reflects that these are well-known risks.

When it can be shown that a specific bad outcome usually occurs only when there is negligence, it is called a “res ipsa loquitur” case (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”). The clearest examples are when surgical instruments or sponges are left in the body after surgery. A few well-documented injuries, such as cutting the common bile duct during gallbladder surgery and lacerating the median nerve during carpal-tunnel surgery, are generally considered to be negligent by definition.

Chris Schumacher, In Memoriam

Client Case Study

Death from a Surgical Nick


"The minute I heard Paul's voice, I knew he was my attorney. It felt like home. Paul really cares, and he knew immediately what happened to me and my husband Chris was wrong.

Chris went in for routine surgery to correct a hernia, but in the process, the surgeon nicked his bowel. He was discharged despite being in considerable pain. By the time he was readmitted to the ER and operated on 72 hours later, an infection had overwhelmed his system. He had a heart attack during surgery and could not be revived. He was only 56.

Paul and the whole staff were wonderful and kept in touch frequently. I would use him again in a heartbeat."

Suzanne S.
Great Falls, MT

Chris Schumacher, In Memoriam

Client Case Study

Mother's Death from a Medical Procedure

"Four years ago, our mother died as the result of a medical procedure. We really didn't know where to turn. Since we had worked in a law office for many years, we were able to contact a Seattle attorney. Without hesitation, she recommended Chemnick Moen Greenstreet with the confidence they were absolutely perfect for us.

This was understandably a terrible and stressful time for us. The process was not something we were familiar with. Paul Chemnick helped us through this with the utmost care and patience. He was always available to answer our questions by phone or email, usually within the hour.

We were extremely happy about and satisfied with the result of our four-day trial. We don't know if we could have gotten through this with anyone else. We are so grateful for Paul's expertise and how he handled our case."

Rebecca K. and Sue L.
Richland, WA

Client Case Study

A Mistake in Surgery

Iris, 45, came to her nurse practitioner complaining about three days of severe headaches. The nurse practitioner ordered a CT scan and within a few days referred Iris to a neurosurgeon who scheduled her for elective endoscopic surgery to remove a benign colloid cyst from her brain. A commercial truck driver who had owned her own trucking company, Iris was married to fellow truck driver Matt, who was proud stepfather to Iris' 11 -year-old son Dan from her first marriage.

During surgery, the light on the endoscope instrument went out and the surgeon, rather than stopping the surgery until his light source was again available, continued to operate. A later MRI traced the path of destruction by the endoscope nearly an inch into the opposite side of her brain from the cyst's location. The benign cyst was left intact in her brain.

Iris was hospitalized in a neuro-intensive care unit for five weeks during which she had two drains and a shunt placed in her brain, developed hydrocephalus and meningitis, and remained comatose for a prolonged period. She was transferred to a rehabilitation unit for another five weeks, then to a nursing home for nearly three weeks. She still suffers from severe short-term memory loss, lack of initiation, neurogenic bowel and bladder, and diabetes. She cannot be left alone because she wanders away, gets lost, and suffers from incontinence. Iris will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

We negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement to cover Iris' past and future medical and care bills; her past and future lost earnings; the loss of her quality of life as she knew it; Matt's loss of the wife he knew and loved; and Dan's loss of his mother as he knew her. The family was able to purchase a home with fenced acreage so Iris can safely walk outside and room for a live-in caretaker.

Chemnick | Moen | Greenstreet
115 NE 100th St #220, Seattle, WA 98125 US
47.7009300-122.3265920
Phone: 206-443-8600
Fax: 206-443-6904