Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Herskovits v. Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound

Supreme Court of Washington
99 Wash.2d 609, 664 P.2d 474 (1983)



Herskovits consulted Group Health Hospital (GHH) (defendant), operated by Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound (defendant), complaining of chest pain and coughing. Treating physicians at the GHH took a chest X-ray but did not perform any other tests. GHH treated Herskovits’s condition with a cough suppressant. Herskovits’s chest pain and coughing persisted, and he consulted Dr. Jonathan Ostrow for a second medical opinion. Ostrow diagnosed Herskovits with an advanced form of lung cancer. Herskovits underwent an operation to remove the cancerous lung but died 20 months later. Herskovits’s wife, as administratrix of his estate (the Estate) (plaintiff), filed a wrongful death suit against GHH. Ostrow testified for the Estate that had GHH’s physicians detected the cancer, Herskovits’s possibility of a five-year survival would have been 39 percent. Due to GHH’s failure to detect the cancer, Herskovits’s chance of survival was reduced to 25 percent. The Estate argued that the reduction in the chance of survival from 39 percent to 25 percent was sufficient evidence to allow a jury to consider the proximate cause issue. GHH argued that the Estate was unable to produce expert testimony that the delay in Herskovits’s diagnosis “probably” or “more likely than not” caused his death. The trial court granted GHH’s motion for summary judgment, and the Estate appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Dore, J.)

Concurrence (Pearson, J.)

Dissent (Brachtenbach, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial