CN) – Washington state’s requirement that doctors and dentists receive 90 days’ notice before being sued for malpractice is unconstitutional, the Washington Supreme Court ruled.
Nancy Waples sued her dentist, Dr. Peter Yi, for malpractice. She complained that his staff administered Novacain negligently, causing her pain, physical disability and partial paralysis.
Linda Cunningham filed a similar claim against her radiologist, Dr. Ronald Nicol. She said he told her that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) came back normal. Eight years later, she had brain tumors that she said could have been detected on the MRI.
Both patients lost their lawsuits and their state-court appeals because they did not give the doctors the statutory 90 days’ notice.
But they won at the state Supreme Court level, as Justice Charles Johnson agreed that the notice requirement is unconstitutional because it “does not address the primary rights of either party and deals only with the procedures to effect those rights.”