Oregon Medical Malpractice Law Blog | Law Office of Robert A. Miller
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Oregon Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

Determining if you were misdiagnosed legally, medically complex

The medical field is dynamic, complicated and extremely sophisticated. Doctors, nurses and administrators in this industry typically go through years of schooling and training to be able to serve patients with a standard level of care, and we as patients must rely on this training and experience when it comes to our own health.

This is why it can be so upsetting to learn that you have been misdiagnosed. You can feel angry, frustrated and even deceived when you have struggled with a condition for which treatment has not been effective as a result of an inaccurate or delayed medical diagnosis. In some cases, this is just an unfortunate reality of the complexities associated with medical care. In other cases, however, it is the result of medical negligence or malpractice.

Deadly Ebola lessons include value of electronic health records

As deadly as Ebola is, it's not surprising that it took on the mantle as the biggest health scare in recent medical history. What may be more interesting is how relatively quickly it receded into the background. You barely hear any news about it at all here in Oregon or anywhere else.

But it's apparent from some of the headlines we've seen that Ebola is not off the world stage. Indeed, it was the topic of some attention at a recent American Bar Association conference. And as it turns out, it nicely dovetails with last week's post about some medical technology that would clearly help prevent medical errors, if only it were more widely adopted. What we're talking about, of course, are electronic health records.

Is there technology that might help reduce medical errors?

In a post late last month, we found ourselves commenting about how new medical technology may hold promise for improving overall standards of care. But as that post noted, just because something is new doesn't mean it's beneficial.

Unfortunately, too often, the only way average consumers can know if a tool that is being promoted has value is if the media provides analysis. Most people just don't have the ability to get the necessary information. And if they get it, one has to wonder how many could make sense of the data. So, we rely on the news media, and even then, readers can't be sure they're getting the whole scoop, even if the source is The Wall Street Journal.

Research underway on potential harm of pediatric anesthesia

If you have a child for whom surgery that requires general anesthesia is recommended, experts are suggesting you think twice about whether it can't be put off for a while. The concern among those experts is that they don't really know what effect general anesthetic might be having on the brains of child patients -- especially those who are younger than three.

That's a question they hope to get answered as a result of research that is now underway. But results of some of the work now being done aren't likely to be available for several years.

Oregon caps noneconomic damages for injury, but not always

Injuries are not created equal. But that has not stopped legislatures in Oregon and other states from deciding that there are limits as to what an injury victim may be entitled to recover. The thing is, even though the law may put a cap on what a plaintiff can claim, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that sometimes the cap might not apply.

In cases where it is clear that negligence by another has contributed to the infliction of the injury or has caused death, the law allows for the awarding of damages for economic losses. That is, such things as the costs of medical care, loss of income and earning potential due to the injury can be recovered.

Are Oregon hospitals doing enough to stop deadly infections?

It seems as if we go no more than a couple of weeks without hearing about how dangerous it can be to go to the hospital. Last October, we posted a blog entry about the different kinds of infections patients can be exposed to while being treated.

The next month, perspective was offered about how emergency rooms in the state sometimes fail to take the time to properly assess a patient's condition or are too 0quick to refuse treatment if medical insurance coverage is in question.

Are there any birth-related 'never events'?

There has been a lot written in recent years about the number of people who die as a result of medical errors they suffer while in hospitals or other care facilities.

The first shocker in this regard came in 1999, with a report published in the Institute of Medicine that estimated that nearly 100,000 people were dying annually due to mistakes that should have never happened. Since then, the number of fatalities estimated to be occurring every year has increased. In 2013, a report in the Journal of Patient Safety said the annual death rate due to medical errors could be as high as 440,000.

All med-tech that glitters is not gold. How can you know?

Advances in medicine are happening all the time. Often they are hugely important and deserve to have word of them spread. Sometimes they may be important, but in the absence of any solid data proving their value, they should be studied with a certain level of healthy skepticism.

Average consumers aren't really equipped with the knowledge to know when some glittering new technology being promoted is all it's cracked up to be. So when a new piece of equipment is introduced, whether it's in the general clinical setting or the hallowed environment of the surgical theater, we tend to rely on analysis from sources that we trust.