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Patients’ legal rights under new Oregon medical liability program

Readers of our Eugene medical malpractice blog may be aware that earlier this year, a bill was signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber to create a voluntary medical liability reform program. The aim of the program is to give healthcare providers and patients a confidential conversation when events that could lead to a medical malpractice claim occur. The presence of a mediator can be requested as the parties attempt to reach a resolution of the matter.

The voluntary program is the most significant reform seen in Oregon in decades when it comes to medical liability. Supporters of the program also see benefits such as transparency, restoration of trust in the healthcare profession and open communication. Overseeing the program is the Oregon Patient Safety Commission. The new program is set to begin in July 2014.

As the start date for the program draws nearer, it’s important for Oregonian patients to be aware of their legal rights. The medical liability reform program is strictly voluntary, and is meant to facilitate communication and full disclosure following adverse events. The program in no way replaces a patient’s legal rights or recourse following acts of malpractice.

A medical malpractice lawsuit is often the only way to hold healthcare providers responsible when hospital negligence results in patient injury. Surgical errors, pharmaceutical mistakes and other acts of negligence can cause serious and irreparable harm to innocents patients. In the most severe cases, a patient may even die as a result of malpractice. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help victims recover medical expenses, lost wages and punitive damages for acts of negligence. An experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney can help a patient and his or her family put forth the best case possible.

Source: The Lund Report, “Oregon patient safety commission begins creating medical liability reform program,” Amanda Waldroupe, June 20, 2013