The Importance of Connecting the Dots in a Washington, D.C. Medical Malpractice Case

When someone is injured due to the negligence of a medical professional, they may be able to secure compensation for their injuries through a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit. However, due to the complex nature of these lawsuits, there are often multiple experts involved. Often, these experts are called to establish the element of causation.

Causation in a medical malpractice case is a critical element that must be established by the plaintiff. In order to successfully prove causation, a plaintiff must present some testimony establishing that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, it will not be enough for the plaintiff to establish that the defendant medical professional was negligent; it must also be shown that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. A recent case illustrates the consequences one plaintiff suffered after failing to connect the dots in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff had a laparoscopic hysterectomy performed by the defendant doctor. During the surgery, the defendant perforated the plaintiff’s bowel, and despite checking for any injuries before finishing the surgery, he did not notice the perforation. After the surgery, the plaintiff was experiencing abdominal pain and difficulty urinating.

The plaintiff was later diagnosed with a bowel perforation. The perforation was repaired by another doctor, and the plaintiff later filed a medical malpractice lawsuit. The plaintiff initially claimed that the doctor was negligent for perforating her bowel, for failing to notice the perforation, and for failing to consult with a general surgeon after discovering the perforation. However, at trial, the plaintiff abandoned the claim that the defendant was negligent in perforating her bowel. Thus, the case proceeded on the latter two theories only.

At trial, the plaintiff presented expert witness testimony that the defendant was negligent for failing to recognize the perforation and also for failing to consult with a general surgeon. However, there was no evidence presented regarding whether the plaintiff’s injuries would have been any less had the defendant recognized the perforation and consulted with a general surgeon.

The court determined that this lack of testimony was fatal to the plaintiff’s claim. The court explained that, in order to successfully prove a medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must establish each element of the claim. Here, the plaintiff presented evidence supporting a finding that the defendant was negligent, but there was no evidence linking the defendant’s negligence to the plaintiff’s injuries. And since the plaintiff did not claim that the defendant was negligent in perforating her bowel, the only injuries at issue were those that were worsened by the defendant’s failure to recognize and treat the perforation once it occurred.

Have You Been Injured Due to Poor Medical Care?

If you or a loved one has recently been a victim of what you believe to be negligent medical care, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice lawsuit. The dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of medical malpractice claims, and they have a broad network of experts to help establish their clients’ claims. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case, call 410-650-3600.

More Blog Posts:

Appellate Court Determines Teacher Was Immune from Liability in Recent Failure-to-Supervise Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 16, 2018

Court Dismisses Premises Liability Case Due to Plaintiff’s Knowledge of Hazard That Caused His Injury, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, March 2, 2018

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