Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Helling v. Carey case brief

Helling v. Carey case brief summary
519 P.2d 981 (1974)

Plaintiff, a patient, appeals a Washington Court of appeals holding.
The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's holding.
The trial court ruled for defendant ophthalmologists.
This case is a medical malpractice action involving the ophthalmologists' failure to timely administer a glaucoma test.


The patient, who was 32 years of age when she was diagnosed with glaucoma, sued the ophthalmologists, stated that she suffered severe and permanent damage to her eyes as the proximate result of the ophthalmologists' negligence in failing timely administer a pressure test for glaucoma. Both the trial and appellate courts ruled in favor of the ophthalmologists.

Did the ophthalmologist comply with the standard of the profession of ophthalmology, which does not require the giving of a routine pressure test to persons under 40 years of age and does complying with that standard relieve the defendant of liability.


  • The court held that under the facts of this case, reasonable prudence required the timely administration of the pressure test to the patient. '
  • In failing to do so, the ophthalmologists were negligent, which proximately resulted in the blindness sustained by the patient for which the ophthalmologists were liable.

The court reversed judgment for the ophthalmologists because reasonable prudence required them to timely administer a routine pressure test for glaucoma even though professional standards did not require them to do so.

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