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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Don't expect an apology from your physician: Here's why

One question that has been coming up more frequently as time goes on is whether or not doctors and hospitals should apologize for making medical errors. People are raised to apologize when they do something wrong. It's called taking responsibility.

While patients don't want to hear that a mistake was made, apologizing could be a way to prevent lawsuits. The trouble is that many facilities believe that apologizing immediately makes them liable for injuries; essentially, apologizing is admitting fault.

Hospital negligence: Disinfectants are a requirement

One of the things all patients want is to know that a hospital is clean. It is a hospital's responsibility to clean as best as possible to prevent the spread of infection. It isn't just surfaces that have to be cleaned; medical equipment, beds, sheets, sinks and other items all have to be cleaned regularly and with the right cleaning supplies.

Hospitals should use hospital-grade disinfectants when cleaning. Normal disinfectants may not be enough to prevent the spread of superbugs that develop in hospitals.

Lawsuit seeks $2.5 million for the wrongful death of 62-year-old

Patients going to the hospital or an outpatient facility for routine surgery aren't expecting to die on the table. Their families believe they'll be home in just a few hours and recovering safely. Sadly, that doesn't always happen. Mistakes can be made, and when they happen, patients could lose their lives.

A $2.5 million lawsuit was filed against Northwest Anesthesia Physicians, who are accused of causing a man's death in Oregon. According to the news report from Aug. 24, the family of the man is seeking $2.5 million for his death, after he passed away on the surgical table.

Woman sues over false positive cancer screening and surgeries

Misinformation is awful for patients, because it means they don't know the actual state of their health. They make decisions based on this information, which could be inaccurate. For a woman in Oregon, that meant that she thought she had a diagnosis that she, in reality, did not.

The Aug. 10 report describes a 36-year-old woman who was told that she carried genes that could later lead to breast cancer. They urged her to go through a double mastectomy, and she also had a hysterectomy to stem the risk of developing cancer at all. The surprise came after the surgeries were over and her wounds were healing. She learned that she didn't have the genes they had told her she had.

Wrong-site surgery: Common causes

A wrong-site surgery is one of the worst mistakes that can be made in medicine. With this error, a patient goes through the struggle of a surgery to end up having no relief from the problem and a new problem created.

Sometimes, wrong-site surgeries aren't too serious, but other times, they could threaten a patient's life. For instance, if a patient needs a kidney removed and the wrong kidney is taken, the patient won't have a second kidney to rely on when the damaged kidney is finally replaced. Instead, they may have to have a transplant, which would have been unnecessary.

Patients at risk when medical facility uses open-plan design

Violence never has a place in a hospital or care center. When people go to seek care, they need a calm environment where they feel safe. Some people struggle with mental health conditions that may make them violent when least expected. For that reason, many hospitals and intake centers limit patients' exposure to one another and have safeguards in place to prevent attacks.

That's not the case at one center. Unity Center for Behavioral Health has a living-room style intake center. This is an area also known as the Psychiatric Emergency Services area or "PES." In the PES, an open-model plan makes it easier for patients to attack other patients or caregivers. While having a central area between patients' rooms and appointments, it has led to several serious attacks and resulted in deaths.

Surgery: Can it spread cancer?

One common myth about surgeries is that they have a high risk of spreading cancer to other parts of the body. The reality is that the risk is not high, but there is still a risk if the proper protocols are not followed. By following standard procedures during a surgery, the surgeon can prevent the cells from spreading after the surgery to remove tumors or take a biopsy.

The problem occurs when those protocols aren't followed. For instance, a surgeon should be using different tools if they plan to take samples from different parts of the body. This helps prevent cross-contamination. Failing to do this, it would be possible to transfer cancer cells to other parts of the body, potentially increasing the speed at which the cancer spreads.

Early Discussion and Resolution Program aims to reduce lawsuits

If you have a case of medical malpractice that you want to bring against a medical professional for neglect or mistakes that led to a loved one' death, then you may be interested in hearing more about a new dispute resolution process in Oregon. This new arrangement, called the Early Discussion and Resolution Program, would give patients or their families a chance to work through cases with the hospital or defendants before they hit trial.

While some wonder what the benefit would be of settling outside court, there are many reasons to do so. Reducing costs, saving time and helping families by getting them the compensation they need sooner is better for everyone all around. Lawsuits, it's argued, drive a wedge between providers and patients, which means that more people fear working with each other. Instead, EDR would give a chance to both sides to come to a fair resolution.

What is a pharmacist's job meant to include?

Doctor errors, which can range from forgetting to call back a patient to providing the wrong prescriptions, have the potential to seriously harm those who rely on medical providers for care. Sometimes, it's not even the medical doctor's direct errors that cause a problem, but instead an error by a doctor of pharmacy.

Interestingly, when a pharmacist fills a prescription, he or she is intended to review the prescription and make sure it appears correct. If not, then the pharmacy is meant to call the doctor who prescribed the medication and clarify the order.

Is it malpractice? Here's 2 things to consider

Failing to diagnose a patient isn't always a sign of malpractice, but there are times when it is. As someone who now has an advanced stage of cancer, you may not be sure why your previous complaints and tests didn't signal that something was wrong. Your medical provider assured you that you were fine.

Now, you just want to know if your case is malpractice or not. Your disease advanced due to a lack of treatment, but was it your doctor's fault? Here are two things to consider:

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