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Medical negligence can lead to serious injuries, even death

Many of the mistakes that medical personnel make could result in serious consequences for Oregon patients. Medical negligence comes in many forms, including a lapse in judgment. Policies and procedures are put in place in order to protect patients. When they are not followed, innocent people could pay the price.

For example, many hospitals allow students to "shadow" doctors. In those hospitals, policies specify that the students are to have no first hand contact with patients. They are only allowed to observe. One such hospital in New York recently banned students from shadowing doctors in operating rooms because an anesthesiologist allowed a student to put a tube down the throat of a patient who was under anesthesia in July 2014. The student was not even in medical school, but was only considering it and was not trained or authorized to perform the procedure.

A member of the surgical team reported the incident to her superiors, but the hospital failed to take any action until Dec. 2014 when an inspection prompted by a complaint regarding the event was conducted. Only then did the hospital take steps to ensure that similar lapses in judgment did not take place. The anesthesiologist apparently admitted he allowed the student to intubate the patient. The hospital claims that the patient was not harmed.

Bending the rules may seem harmless in the moment. However, when people's lives are at stake, deviations from acceptable standards of care are considered medical negligence. Oregon patients who become victims of doctors who do not feel the rules apply to them may be able to file a medical malpractice claim in order to seek restitution for any damages incurred.

Source: syracuse.com, "Cortland doctor let untrained college student put breathing tube in patient", James T. Mulder, June 8, 2015

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