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Oregon Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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 now 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.

How commonly does misdiagnosis occur?

It is not uncommon to hear that the practice of medicine is as much art as it is science. That may have been the case once upon a time, but we suspect that most everyone, even doctors, would agree that the scales of that balance have tipped strongly in favor of science. We have learned an amazing amount in just the last 200 years. And we are learning more new things every day.

But just because discoveries have been made doesn't mean that the information has filtered its way into the bedrock of the medical profession. If that were the case, concern about the issue of errors in diagnosis wouldn't exist as it does in Oregon and the rest of the country. Current research suggests this is a major problem and that the medical industry knows it.

What is Oregon law on filing a wrongful death action?

How many times have you found yourself saying, "There oughta be a law." It typically surfaces when you are faced with some frustrating situation that you feel should never happen, but does. The thing is there often are laws for such issues. But the situations they cover may occur so rarely that it may be easy to assume they don't.

The most overwhelming circumstance in which this might happen would be when a loved one has been lost. Someone's negligence or recklessness has resulted in a motor vehicle crash or an error in medical treatment that ends with an innocent person's untimely death.

Why aren't medical machines talking to each other?

To err is human, the saying goes. To really screw things up you need a computer. If we presume the truth of that statement, it might another good reason to give us all pause when we find ourselves having to spend time as a patient in the hospital.

As we have noted in more than one previous post, health care relies a lot on technology. In one post we offered the observation that, if used well, technology has the potential to prevent medical errors. But it also depends on the human beings who use the technology actually communicating well with each other.

What you can do before an operation to avoid surgical errors

There is no argument from those in health care that there are still problems to overcome to make surgery safer for patients. Despite years of effort to raise awareness and reduce instances of so-called "never events," one analysis in 2012 estimated that preventable surgical errors result in more than 4,000 malpractice claims every year.

The implications of that data, compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers, are staggering. They say that in some 10,000 never-event cases reviewed over a 20-year time frame, more than 6 percent of the patients died. Nearly 33 percent of patients suffered permanent injury. Some 60 percent suffered temporary injuries. And payouts for malpractice claims totaled $1.3 billion.

Birth injuries don't always happen at birth

When anyone talks about birth injuries, the first thing that likely pops into mind is some traumatic situation that occurred in the midst of the baby's delivery. It might be easy to understand why such views tend to prevail.

Conditions such as shoulder dystocia that result in Erb's palsy or brain injury caused by the baby being deprived of oxygen during delivery are those that generate a lot of headlines. Cerebral Palsy is another condition that may be caused by a failure to deliver the proper standard of care during a birth.

Anytime a head goes bump, it could mean concussion

The last 10 years have seen a major explosion in awareness about the hazards of brain injuries. Most of what we know has come from significantly increased research into the kind of damage that can be done when athletes participate in contact sports like football.

What medical experts have concluded is that repeated tough raps to the head increase the risk of significant mental and physical health issues long term. But more than that, they've discovered that even a single hard hit can cause a concussion. And as one doctor's contribution to The Huffington Post notes, every concussion causes damage.

Family of girl declared brain dead is suing hospital

Back in December of 2013, the story of a teenage girl who wound up brain dead after a tonsillectomy was all over the news. What might typically be thought of as a routine surgery wound up being anything but.

We did a post on the matter at the time, offering the view that an option for families in such a situation might be in seeking compensation for the alleged negligence of medical staff. Earlier this month, that reportedly is what this child's family decided to do.