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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Unexplained infant injuries possibly the result of nursing errors

Fewer events are happier in a young family's life in Oregon than welcoming a new baby. The joy of giving birth to a healthy baby knows no bounds for most people. As joyous as the birth may be, finding out something has happened or may be wrong can fill a new parent with fear and dread. Five families are facing that fear after a possible case of nursing errors in a NICU in another state.

Five babies suffered unexplained injuries that included bruising and a skull fracture. While the case is under investigation, no charges have been filed. There may be more than one nurse involved, and that can increase the complexity of the case.

Incorrect gene finding leads to a case of medical malpractice

While being diagnosed with cancer is not necessarily the death sentence that it was in years past, it can still be terrifying. Recent advances have allowed doctors to check a person's DNA for cancer-carrying genes. This is used predominantly on women to ascertain the likelihood that a woman may contract breast, uterine or ovarian cancer. An error in identifying such genes led to a medical malpractice suit in Oregon.

A woman was told she carried the cancer-causing gene and that she needed a double mastectomy. She also had a complete hysterectomy. After the surgeries were completed, it was determined that in fact she carried none of the genes that the doctors had told her she carried.

Nursing negligence contributes to mental health facility woes

Having to commit a loved one to a mental health facility can be a very painful and emotional experience. A person  would hope that his or her loved one would receive the required care and be safe. In a prominent Oregon mental health facility, this may not always be the case. There have been many recent instances of nursing negligence that threatened patient safety.

One such instance involved a person whose symptoms included difficulty swallowing. A doctor had ordered occupational therapy to address the issue. The orders were not carried out and the patient eventually died. The report attributed the death to nursing neglect.

Postpartum complications can lead to obstetrical malpractice

Having a baby in Oregon should be an exciting time and the beginning of a new adventure. For many women in America, this is not always the case. A recent article cites statistics that indicate that the United States as a whole suffers from an alarmingly high maternal death rate. This in part is believed to be due to hospitals not following best practices in caring for new mothers following the birth of their children. This failure to follow best practices could lead to obstetrical malpractice suits.

Among the issues noted in the article were a failure to adequately track and measure blood loss following a birth and a failure to act promptly on the issue of high blood pressure. A young woman in South Carolina was sent home from the hospital with her newborn in spite of the fact that her blood pressure was dangerously high. She later returned to the ER complaining of a headache and her blood pressure was even higher than when she had been discharged. She suffered a stroke while in the waiting room and later died.

Failure to diagnose injuries can result in lethal complications

One of the most painful injuries many children remember from childhood is the injury suffered when a finger was slammed in a car door. While the pain was excruciating and not forgotten, most recovered quickly and went on to other adventures unscathed. For one Oregon woman, the injury had a tragic outcome that resulted in a case of medical negligence as a result of multiple doctors' failure to diagnose complications from a simple injury.

A woman slammed her hand in a car door and the next day she went to the hospital as her thumb was swollen and she felt light headed. The emergency physician diagnosed her as being dehydrated and sent her home. The next day her husband called 911 as his wife was agitated and confused. A doctor who examined her noticed discoloration and discharge at the sight of the injury and suspected necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh eating disease, and ordered her admitted to the intensive care ward. Her thumb was splinted and a doctor said he would check on her in the morning.

Nursing negligence can exist in mental hospitals

Mental illness can be devastating to the person who is suffering and also to the family and loved ones of the afflicted individual in Oregon. When a person needs to be hospitalized for his or her condition, family and loved ones trust the facility to provide a high level of care to their loved one. Sadly, this is not always the case and nursing negligence can occur.

In an out of state psychiatric hospital, conditions have been reported that are not up to accepted standards. The facility has been cited for health and safety code violations that range from assaults on staff to escapes and even a murder charge. A woman whose mother was admitted for treatment is suing the facility. She claims that her mother was a victim to numerous falls and assaults. The woman's mother complained that the nurses did not bathe her and that another patient had hit her.

Nursing negligence can cause preventable death

Having to commit a loved one to an Oregon nursing home can be a very difficult and emotional decision. Once the decision is made, a family hopes they are making the right decision for their loved one and that they have found the best care possible. When that care falls short mistakes and accidents can occur that can end in a case of nursing negligence.

This was the situation in a recent death in a nursing home in another state. A male patient had been admitted to the home and was left unsupervised while eating a meal. The patient choked on his food. The choking caused a brain injury and a heart attack that resulted in the patient's death.

Nursing negligence and ALS prove to be catastrophic

When loved ones are entrusted to skilled nursing and healthcare facilities in Oregon, the patient's family expect that their loved one will receive appropriate and mandated care. If care instructions are not followed, nursing negligence can result in a tragedy. This occurred in a recent case where a patient on a ventilator passed away. The probable cause was a ventilator failure.

The patient was suffering from ALS (amyo­trophic lateral sclerosis). The family had been told that the patient could not survive for more than ten minutes without the aid of a ventilator. A registered nurse charged with the gentleman's care during an overnight shift failed to provide the prescribed care. The ventilator became unplugged, and the patient died.

Failure to diagnose cancer in its early stages can be devastating

Cancer is a horrible disease. While survival rates have increased and it's not the death sentence it once was, the diagnosis can still be devastating. Some cancers are unique to women. The symptoms of these cancers can present as appearing to be something else, particularly if other conditions that commonly present with the cancer are not present. In Oregon and across the country, failure to diagnose in the case of cancer can be devastating.

Fran Drescher, a well known actress, survived uterine cancer but was not diagnosed until her symptoms were prominent. Most women with uterine cancer are post-menopausal or obese. Fran Drescher was neither. When she first consulted a doctor she was told she had a perimenopausal condition and did not receive a test that would have caught the uterine cancer very early. It took her two years and eight different doctors to get an accurate diagnosis by which time the cancer had advanced to a later stage.

A routine test ends in a medical negligence suit

People in Oregon know that periodic checkups with their physician are a good idea for helping to maintain good overall health. On occasion a checkup may result in a doctor requesting certain tests. The tests are required to check for the presence of disease or to rule out suspicions of disease. Typically, patients trust the doctors tasked with carrying out the tests to carry them out carefully and correctly. Failure to carry out a test carefully and accurately could result in a medical negligence case.

A female patient was referred to a hospital to have a CT scan administered. The doctor injected her with contrast dye, and the patient suffered an allergic reaction. She went into anaphylactic shock as a result of the reaction and became unconscious. The doctor did give her Benadryl but did not check her vital signs. He also did not give her epinephrine, which may have been able to save her life.