The startling fact is that roughly 225,000 people will die every year because of medical malpractice in one form or another. That figure does not include an equal or greater number of patients who don't die, but instead suffer severe and permanent injuries from medical negligence. Statistics also suggest that, in Oregon and elsewhere, a significant percentage of the patient deaths and injuries are caused by surgical error.

The number of medical negligence tragedies occurring each year in Oregon are roughly proportionate to the overall figures. With respect to surgical error, some of them are subtle and difficult to prove. The complexities of disease and the human body may make it difficult to choose from numerous potential causes for a particularly injurious surgical outcome.

However, there are also glaring mistakes that can be more easily pinned down and verified. The most serious and glaring errors include surgery on the wrong body part, surgery on the wrong person and leaving a surgical instrument in the patient's body. In any event, virtually all cases of medical negligence require expert testimony in the applicable field of medicine to establish the cause of the patient's death or severe injury.

The proof of the cause of surgical error can also be supplemented by the comparison of pictures and diagnostic portrayals both before and after the surgery. There may be a severed nerve that is new, or a new traumatic injury to a certain part of the body. Close scrutiny of the details of the total procedure can lead to a conclusion about the most likely cause or causes.

Oregon has its fair share of cases of surgical error each year. Perhaps the most traumatic aspect of this kind of injury is the fact that the patient is totally helpless during the procedure. It is therefore generally wise to research the background and qualifications of the surgeon prior to deciding to go forward with the procedure. It can also be extremely helpful to get a second opinion prior to giving one's permission for the operation.

Source:, "Surgical Errors in Medical Malpractice", May 19, 2015