Unfortunately, medical errors still occur in Oregon even though most doctors strive to provide top-notch care. A study from John's Hopkins University analyzed data from approximately 35 million hospital admissions to determine why there are about 200,000 deaths due to medical error every year.
There are several reasons that medical errors can occur. Even though doctors go through years of training and schooling, medicine still involves a certain amount of clinical judgment. Further, some errors can involve constantly-evolving technology. A medical error caused by a "system" error could occur if the communication breaks down between staff and doctors, especially during shift changes. Errors that are made due to poor judgment or decision-making skills are actually very rare.
Patients can assist with preventing errors by taking the time to understand their medical problems. For example, if a patient has a complication with a treatment, they should report the issue to their doctor with a log of when the complications occurred. This way, doctors may have a better idea of how the patient is doing on the treatment at home versus in the hospital. Patients should also ask questions and be prepared to question everything. If a treatment, drug or procedure does not seem to make sense, the patient should deny it until their questions are answered adequately.
If a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, the patient may potentially have the grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor and hospital. In some cases, an attorney may help the patient seek compensation for any aggressive treatments that may be needed due to the improper diagnosis.