Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Suing for Medical Negligence

Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextA couple recently filed a lawsuit against the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle after it lost frozen embryos from more than 31 patients. The 2014 incident was only recently made public when the lawsuit was filed, but the director of strategic communications for UW Medical Center has confirmed that it happened.

According to the lawsuit, the couple had a written agreement with UWMC that required them to remain in contact with the IVF program for three years. Otherwise, the couple would relinquish control of their frozen embryos. The lawsuit claims that the female patient contacted UWMC in 2012.

In 2014, “without notice and/or warning, UWMC discarded and/or destroyed (the patients’) cyropreserved embryos,” the couple argued in the lawsuit. They are claiming medical negligence, negligence, and breach of contract.

*Filing a Medical Negligence Claim in Washington*This is not your typical medical malpractice case. When someone alleges medical malpractice it is because the doctor made a mistake during surgery, or misdiagnosed the patient, or something along those lines. Most cases involve physical injury to the patient.

Here, the couple is claiming medical negligence. Their injury did not happen because a doctor erred during treatment, but because the hospital (for whatever reason) did not uphold its end of an agreement. To win any kind of negligence claim, you must prove that:

In this case, UMWC allegedly had a duty to preserve the frozen embryos for three years, as long as the couple stayed in contact. They said they did so. If so, discarding the embryos was a breach of that duty.

The emotional damage caused by losing their embryos is a cognizable injury under Washington law. That damage was clearly caused by UWMC destroying the embryos. The couple wants to make UWMC puts safeguards in place to make sure this does not happen to other families.

*Statute of Limitations and Comparative Fault*The statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington is three years from the date of the injury. While there are some exceptions to this rule, generally you will lose the right to seek compensation if you meet this deadline.

Washington is also a comparative fault state. This means the law takes it into account when injured plaintiffs contribute to their own injuries. This usually comes into play in car accidents when maybe the plaintiff was also acting negligently. Courts reduce the amount of damages plaintiffs receive by their percentage of fault. However, it is more difficult to imagine a scenario in which comparative negligence would apply to the frozen embryo case.

*Contact Us Today*Contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation if you are injured by medical negligence. We will examine the facts of your case and help recover the compensation that you deserve, including pain and suffering.

(image courtesy of Drew Hays)