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Oregon Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Births in the gray zone present huge challenges for parents

Life is such a precious commodity. Is it any wonder then that when mistakes during delivery cause injuries that erode the life possibilities of a child, there is a desire to hold someone responsible? Proving the case isn't always easy, however. Consulting an attorney is always recommended in order to assess if there's a case to be made.

In a blog entry earlier this month, we examined how advancements in medicine have pushed views of fetal viability to as early as 23 weeks. The big question that many parents then face with when an extremely early delivery looms is whether to approve extreme lifesaving measures.

Doctor's cellphone left in patient after C-section?

We make no claim about the accuracy of the coming story. We share it because it's different and because of the broad range of surgical errors that have been known to happen in the operating room. Whether it's true or not, we suspect all in Oregon can agree that surgical mistakes involving something being left behind in a patient are something that should never happen.

According to the original story as published by Gulf News and relayed around the globe, the family of a 36-year-old Jordanian woman claims a gynecologist sewed his cellphone into her abdomen after performing a cesarean section to deliver her baby in April.

Preemies may live with intensive care, but at what cost?

The birth of a child is not like setting a bone or suturing a cut. It's a nine-month process. That's capped by a period of labor and pain for the mother. If everything goes according to nature, the baby is born and all is good.

Most of the time, that's what happens. When complications do develop during a delivery, health care providers are faced with challenges that may threaten both the mother and the child. If there is a failure to deliver a proper standard of care, that negligence can result in life-altering injury to both mother and child.

Projection about breast cancer diagnoses rising questioned

There are a lot of ways to interpret things when diagnoses of diseases start to rise. It may be that instances of the condition are actually on the increase. It might also be that health care providers have just found a better way of detecting problems and that it results in more cases being discovered.

Sometimes, though, researchers come out with projections about what they think is going to happen with certain diseases based on statistical analysis. What that can lead to are some predictions that can seem very scary. And unless they are looked at carefully and deeply, they might even amount to little more than fear mongering.

Suturing tool's ingenuity doesn't make it right in every case

People who are handy around the house appreciate that there is typically a tool for every conceivable task that needs to be done. It doesn't make much sense to use a screwdriver to pound in a nail. A wrench just won't do to drive home a screw. Still, there are times when the best tool for the job isn't available. A handy Oregonian might then look for something else that will do.

This happens in medicine, too. You've probably heard of off-label uses for certain drugs. Experts acknowledge that doctors regularly prescribe medications for things other than what they were originally approved. That's because they've found it to work.

Suit over delayed defibrillator use seeks $4.2 million

Have you ever had a battery-operated tool that gets finicky? The last time you used it, it was fine. You check the battery. Make sure it's installed in the device right. Hit the thing a few times with the heel of your hand. For some reason it refuses to work. Maybe after a few minutes of effort, it begins to go again.

When that scenario plays out over an electric drill, the outcome is great. When it involves a tool that your life may be dependent upon, you don't have time to play around to get it working.

If a robot surgery system gets hacked, who's liable?

Last week, we raised the question about who could be held responsible if a victim of robotic surgery winds up suffering complications from the procedure. A recent court case that sought and failed to hold the maker of one such device accountable suggests where the weak link might be.

It appears to be centered on the fact that there are no clear standards and policies regarding how the new high-tech tools are put to use. That item noted that lacking clarity on policies means that it becomes hard to identify when there's been a failure in applying accepted standards of care that might warrant a medical malpractice claim.

Who's to blame if robotic surgery goes wrong?

Robotics appears to be really coming of age. Swinging mechanical arms moving with amazing precision along automotive assembly lines have been around for more than a few decades. But we now see robotics coming into the surgical theater.

One of the most notable devices on the market is called the da Vinci Surgical System. While the technology is hailed by many as reducing the risk of surgical errors, some question such claims.

Who's a possible responsible party in a birth injury case?

Bringing a child into the world is natural. It is not necessarily easy. There can be physical difficulties associated with the mother's pregnancy. Labor can be complicated by many factors. The old African adage says it takes a village to raise a child. It seems to take nearly as large a community to deliver one.

With the number of players involved it's possible for things to go terribly wrong during a birth at an Oregon hospital. The result can be injuries that can affect the child and the whole family for the rest of their lives. If those injuries were due to a failure to apply medically accepted standards of care, those responsible should expect to be held to account.

Common hospital IV systems may increase blood clot risk

If you have ever seen the play "Fiddler on the Roof" you know that one of its central observations is about tradition. Tradition can be a good thing. It makes everyday life a little less complicated because we don't have to think about the why of our action.

But tradition can become a problem if it prevents us from adapting to change when called for. Indeed, in a hospital setting, sticking to tradition can cause health issues that leave patients worse off. In some cases, it can even be deadly.