In many medical malpractice cases that go to trial here in Oregon and elsewhere, other doctors might be brought in to testify on behalf of either side. Most people involved in these cases expect that those testifying will be truthful, but one doctor says that is not always the case. He recently came forward to confess that he once lied on the stand to cover up for a doctor who he actually thought was capable of making harmful surgical errors.
A journalist working on a story regarding disciplining doctors for mistakes in his state contacted a family last year regarding the death of their loved one back in 2011. According to the journalist, serious surgical errors were committed during a heart valve repair and bypass procedure. As many families in Oregon might have done, the family recently filed a lawsuit against the doctor and the medical facility where their loved one died.
Doctors, nurses and other medical personnel are only human. Despite their years of training and experience, surgical errors can still occur. However, too few doctors here in Oregon and elsewhere apologize to the patients and/or their families when this happens. In fact, some will not even provide full disclosure regarding the mistake, and the victims and their families are left with many unanswered questions.
Errors in operating rooms here in Oregon and across the nation occur far too often. Some of those surgical errors involve medications given to patients before, during and after a procedure. Recently, it was discovered that the number of medication mistakes made under these circumstances is much higher than previously recorded.
In 2010, a then 38-year-old pregnant woman was excited to hear that she was having a boy. Her excitement was tempered by the fact that her pregnancy was considered high risk, a fact with which many Oregon residents are also familiar. When she suffered a medical emergency at 36 weeks, she claims that doctor errors led to the death of her unborn son.
Every time an individual goes into surgery, there are certain risks associated with the procedure. Patients rely on the surgeon and other staff in the operating room to avoid potential surgical errors. Otherwise, patients here in Oregon and elsewhere could suffer serious injuries or death.
There is a change happening across the country when it comes to errors made by medical professionals. Many hospitals around the country and here in Oregon have -- or are -- adopting new policies encouraging doctors, nurses and others to apologize to patients when a mistake happens and provide them with an explanation of what went wrong. There seems to be a drop in the number of medical malpractice claims filed in connection with diagnosis, treatment and surgical errors when this policy is instituted.
Each year, numerous people here in Oregon and across the country undergo a knee arthroplasty, which is a surgical procedure in which the bones in the knee are resurfaced or totally replaced. When done properly, the procedure is designed to relieve pain and give a patient back his or her range of motion from the joint. Surgical errors can prevent the patient from obtaining relief, and in some cases, make matters worse.
Many of Oregon's surgeons perform the same operations numerous times. In many ways, this means that their proficiency for a certain procedure rises dramatically, which can be a good thing for patients. However, at the same time, an operation can become so "routine" to a doctor that the risk of surgical errors increases because he or she has become complacent.
Oregon readers may take interest in te results of a study published in Anesthesiology's Oct. 2015 issue. After reviewing nearly 275 surgical procedures performed at a hospital on the East Coast known for its patient safety, it was determined that surgical errors involving medication occurred in one out of every two surgeries. Of particular concern is the fact that the hospital in question had already taken steps to eliminate medication errors in surgery.