Law Office of Robert A. Miller
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Database of mistakes at Oregon hospitals available to public

An unfortunate reality, medical mistakes by hospital staff happen at even the best Oregon hospitals and medical facilities. For this reason, Oregonians will be interested to learn that many mistakes related to hospital negligence and medical malpractice are now searchable on an online database. The database includes Oregon medical facilities and other hospitals across the nation.

An example of one of the mistakes searchable in the database is an incident that occurred at St. Charles Medical Center. Eighteen patients at the Bend facility were given colonoscopies with equipment that had not been properly disinfected. Another mistake involved a nurse at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. The nurse mistakenly hooked up a patient's nasal tube to oxygen. The nasal tube was supposed to be used to suction an obstruction. Because of the mistake, the patient went into cardiac arrest. The nurse did not report the error and the patient died several days later. In another report, an eye surgery was performed on the wrong eye.

Medical mistakes such as these have been required to be reported for a long time. However, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are now required to release the information in these reports. The searchable public database of these reports was created by the Association of Health Care Journalists.

While many medical mistakes are isolated incidents, having a readily available database available to the public helps to empower patients. Hospitals also have more of an incentive to remedy their mistakes. The information contained in the database only involves hospitals that receive funding from Medicare or Medicaid. This includes most big hospitals in the greater Portland area. The Oregon hospitals with the largest number of violations were Curry General Hospital, followed by Salem Hospital.

Source: Northwest Cable News, "Ore., Wash. Hospital errors now available online," April 3, 2013

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