State v. Baruth

In State v. Baruth, 47 Wash. 283, 91 P. 977 (1907), the Court affirmed the trial court's sustaining of an objection to defense cross examination of a doctor where the defense sought to elicit that the victim might have survived had he received better medical treatment. Baruth, 47 Wash. at 296-97. The Baruth court merely restated the already well established rule that ordinary medical negligence in the treatment of the wound inflicted is not a defense to murder. Baruth, 47 Wash. at 296 ("Where one unlawfully inflicts upon the person of another a wound calculated to endanger or destroy life, it is no defense to a charge of murder where death ensues to show that the wounded person might have recovered if the wound had been more skillfully treated."). The rule stated in Baruth, however, is limited to cases involving medical negligence because medical negligence is considered foreseeable as a matter of law. This rule does not apply to grossly negligent acts, or to intentional acts, especially when those acts are committed by the victim.