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Portland Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Woman accuses facility of nursing negligence and fraud

Adult children in Oregon often help their aging parents take care of their affairs regarding medical care, financial matters or nursing home issues. Especially in situations where a person who needs living assistance is not of sound mind, the individual may rely on a son or daughter to make sure nursing staff is providing high quality care. If a problem arises, it is often the adult child of a patient who notices something is not right, then investigates to see whether nursing negligence has occurred.

A woman in another state is mourning the loss of her mother. The elderly woman suffered a fall and died soon after. The autopsy report states that she also suffered from a disease that was affecting her heart. Her daughter says when she went back to the nursing home to collect her mother's belongings, she was astounded at what she found.

Failure to diagnose, No. 1 medical malpractice issue

Visiting an Oregon doctor's office or hospital is often the first logical step to take when adverse health symptoms arise. It is reasonable to expect that a licensed physician can provide guidance and support regarding ill-health or injury. However, things do not always go as one might hope, which is made evident by the fact that failure to diagnose is one of the top reasons for medical malpractice litigation.

If a doctor does not properly diagnose a medical condition or fails to advise a patient to seek additional support if he or she is at a loss regarding a particular diagnosis, the patient in question may wind up in worse condition. Many medical conditions present similar symptoms. Doctors know how to use advanced technology, medical journals and consultation with other doctors to help them formulate diagnoses in challenging situations.

Labor and delivery should not result in birth injury

Any Oregon woman who has ever given birth understands how simultaneously exciting, joyous and worrisome the process can be. After approximately nine months of pregnancy that are undoubtedly not without challenge, an expectant mother likely views labor and delivery as a welcomed final step in her journey. Sadly, however, not all journeys end happily, especially when a birth injury occurs.

The problem is that many birth injuries are easily preventable and are caused by medical negligence. A mother in labor has enough to worry about without having to police the medical staff; after all, it is not her responsibility. There are stringent medical protocols and safety standards that govern the behavior of doctors, nurses, scrub technicians and others who assist pregnant women during labor and delivery.

Will new technology help prevent medical negligence?

There are many amenities in the modern world that make life more convenient and easy than it used to be. Advanced technology allows Oregon residents and others to shop online, talk to loved ones who live on another continent or even launch a business from their very own home. Voice assistant technology gets rave reviews for many reasons, one of which is that it may help prevent medical negligence.

Doctors often work long hours and care for multiple patients at the same time. Fatigue and career burnout can lead to negligence or errors that cause serious patient illness or injuries. In addition to the actual time physicians spend talking to and examining patients, tiredness easily sets in due to the exorbitant number of hours they spend logging in all the patient information into computer records.

Oregon patients at risk: Surgical errors and other issues

When preparing for surgery, it is typical to meet with an Oregon surgeon, private physician and other members of the medical team ahead of time. During such meetings, the procedure itself might be discussed, as well as other issues, including post-op recovery, medications that might be recommended and rate of success regarding a particular operation. Proactive patients may also want to talk about surgical errors -- in particular, how to avoid them.

Never events are medical incidents that cause patient injuries or death. They are so named because they are preventable and should never happen. Surgical errors top the list for most frequently reported never events.

US Senate issues nursing negligence report

Many Oregon residents are currently living in nursing homes. Full-assistance service is a valuable commodity for elders who can no longer function independently, and also for many people who are perhaps recovering from automobile accidents or surgeries and are unable to take care of themselves but not able to stay in the hospital. Regardless of what issues have prompted a particular person to wind up in a nursing facility, he or she should never have to be worried about nursing negligence; however, data shows it is a serious concern in this state and throughout the country.

Representatives from another state issued a report that lists numbers close to 400 regarding nursing facilities that have been cited for having persistent substandard care problems. Sadly, issues in some full-assistance centers have led to fatalities. For instance, a man in one nursing home reportedly told staff members he needed medical assistance, but they did nothing. He called 911 himself but died soon after arriving at the hospital.

Never events: Surgical errors that should never happen

When an Oregon medical patient is scheduled for surgery, he or she typically understands that all surgical procedures involve a certain amount of personal injury risk. However, every patient has the right to reasonably expect that surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, practitioners and other licensed care providers will act according to accepted safety standards and protocol during pre-surgery treatment, throughout an operation and during post-operative care. Sadly, surgical errors often occur, which can leave patients in worse condition after their operations than they were before.

If your surgeon leaves a foreign object inside your body, operates on the wrong body part or mistakes you for another patient and performs a procedure that is not meant for you, you might suffer serious infection or other injuries. Before or after surgery, you can be a proactive patient, asking questions and making sure you understand everything your doctors and nurses are doing. However, if you are unconscious on an operating table, you are helpless. You are trusting that those involved in your surgery will do what they are supposed to do in the manner in which they are supposed to do it.

Nursing negligence: Former aide who pleaded guilty now free

Many adult children in Oregon are concerned about aging parents who live in nursing homes. Some of them may have reason to suspect that nursing negligence is occurring or that their loved ones are being abused by nursing home aides. Some years back, the son of a woman who was a patient in a nursing home suspected his mother was being abused after finding bruises on her body.

He set up a hidden camera in her room. Sadly, film footage showed what appeared to be a nursing home employee tossing the 78-year-old woman onto her bed and shoving her face into the sheets. The worker wound up pleading guilty to abuse and serving more than seven years of a 10-year sentence. She was recently released after reportedly issuing an apology to the family of the woman (who is now deceased).

Episiotomy: Necessary or obstetrical malpractice?

Many women in Oregon and beyond have undergone episiotomy surgery during childbirth. However, as in many other health-related areas, such as those involving risks of asbestos exposure, years of experience and scientific studies have provided information and data to help improve patient safety. With regard to cutting a woman's vagina during childbirth, most experts agree that, not only is it unnecessary, it is a health risk to the mother and may lead to obstetrical malpractice in some cases.

The initial idea behind episiotomy surgery was that making a surgical cut to the vagina could provide more room for the baby's head and shoulders to pass through during the birthing process. However, it is now known that the procedure often places women at risk for complications that might not otherwise occur had the mother in question not had the surgery. Dating back to 2006, national guidelines for obstetrics have recommended greatly limiting episiotomy surgery; in fact, it is recommended only to assist a birth where a baby's head or shoulders are stuck. 

Parents agree to settle birth injury case

In Oregon and beyond, mothers rely on their medical teams to help keep themselves and their babies safe during labor and delivery. If a baby suffers a birth injury, an investigation is typically conducted to determine whether a licensed medical care provider was negligent. The parents of a brain-injured infant in another state filed a lawsuit after their child was born with a dangerously low heartbeat.

A particular nurse was deemed responsible for the infant's brain injuries. She was assigned to monitor the child's heart rate at the time. Court records show that instead of using an electronic fetal heart monitor machine, the nurse used a hand-held mobile device, and was possibly monitoring the mother's heart, not the child's.