Seattle Malpractice Trial: was physician “grooming” teenagers?

In Seattle, Washington, Dr. Bill Schnall is currently on trial for medical malpractice. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article, reporter Carol Smith, describes the saga of this Pediatrician who mentored troubled boys and ended up relinquishing his medical license after the State’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission cited him for misconduct in his relationships with patients in August 2005.

The crux of the medical malpractice case is that Dr. Schnall, who was a prominent Shoreline pediatrician and on the staff at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, had a relationship with four teenage boys for his own “voyeuristic sexual gratification.” The attorneys for the families allege that Dr. Schnall abused the boys by emotionally controlling them and crossing professional boundaries in his care of the boys. In opening arguments of the trial patients allege that they were allowed to smoke marijuana at Dr. Schnall’s house, they had intimate and inappropriate e-mails from the physician and that they were inappropriately touched.

Dr. Schnall’s defense is that he was trying to help troubled teenagers at the request of their parents.

The damages that the plaintiffs are requesting have not been specified but their attorney says they are “substantial.” This ongoing case is being closely followed in Seattle.

In Washington State, the legal test is “the standard of care.” The legal test is that the doctor was negligent if he “failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning expected of a reasonably prudent health care provider at that time in the profession or class to which he belongs, in the state of Washington, acting in the same or similar circumstances” and “such failure was a proximate cause of the injury complained of.” RCW 7.70.040(1),2(2).

If you are the victim of a negligent physician, contact The Farber law Group. We have more than 30 years experience in representing the victims of negligent physicians and other health care providers and in helping victims recover compensation of their injuries.

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See our Medical Malpractice Resources.