A medical malpractice case in Oregon and elsewhere will rise and fall on the substantive facts surrounding the treatment and care of the injured patient. With respect to hospital liability, this is generally based on the actions of employees and agents acting within the scope of their authority on behalf of the hospital. Hospital negligence is generally a function of the medical personnel employed or controlled by the hospital.

Press reports regarding alleged medical negligence, which attempt to update the status of malpractice litigation, should be read with a proverbial grain of salt. Superficial news reports are often filled with inaccuracies and distorted perceptions of the case details and events. Only by evaluating the actual evidence in a case can someone come to any conclusions about what happened and whether a professional breach of care occurred.

In one California case, a civil trial is continuing against the St. John's Hospital and Health Center in a Santa Monica courtroom. The plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital on Jan. 8, 2009 and remained there until Feb. 1, 2009. Her problems on admission consisted of chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and suspicion of a heart attack.

The lawsuit claims that the patient fell down and was injured while trying to get out of her hospital bed. She apparently blames the accident on the carelessness of hospital personnel for leaving the bed railing down. It is also alleged that she suffered a Staph infection due to the negligence of hospital personnel.

The complaint against the hospital also raises an elder abuse claim that alleges that hospital personnel treated the patient with malice. Due to a paucity of reported facts, however, the strength of these allegations and the severity of the injuries cannot be appropriately evaluated. Fortunately, the issue of hospital liability in Oregon and all other states is decided usually by a jury, whose members are privy to all of the evidence submitted by both sides.

Source: Santa Monica Mirror, "St. John's Malpractice Trial Continues This Week", Parimal M. Rohit, Aug. 29, 2014