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Evolving medical malpractice laws

People who live in Oregon can be in need of medical care for a variety of reasons. Many of these reasons are not always associated with a problem per se, at least at first. One example of this is a preventive annual wellness exam. A routine screening procedure is another example. A prenatal checkup is another type of visit that is often made when a concern may not be immediately obvious. It is at these times, however, that patients rely on medical professionals to notice signs of potential problems and take appropriate action.

The state’s medical malpractice laws were challenged a couple of years ago after one man’s stroke was not detected early enough, leaving him with permanent brain damage. According to a report by The Bulletin, the law’s definition of medical malpractice was actually expanded to include actions in which a person is denied the opportunity to seek treatment and improve or prevent such damage. The failure of a doctor to order a test to investigate symptoms, for example, is one thing that may fall into this category.

Other elements of the state’s malpractice laws have also been undergoing some change in recent years. In 2016, the Oregon Supreme Court made a ruling that limited the amount of noneconomic damages to $500,000 per Oregon Live.

This year, House Bill 2014 was introduced in an effort to remove that cap. The bill had passed the House of Representatives but failed to receive the full approval of the State Senate. It is not clear if there is a plan to reintroduce the bill at a future date.