Medical negligence law is fairly uniform throughout the country, including in Oregon. There is little divergence in the broad contours of medical malpractice liability from state to state. In general, the tort consists of a medical provider falling below the minimal standard of care required under the circumstances when treating the patient. That minimal standard of care is collectively recognized by the provider's peers in the medical specialty in issue. Falling below that standard and causing damage to the patient in the process is medical malpractice.

The standard of care was clearly breached in a case in another state where the surgeon and hospital defendants agreed to settle the case for $30 million right before a scheduled jury trial was to commence. The egregious alleged facts involved the defendant surgeon performing 25 separate surgical procedures on a young boy who had a leak in his esophagus from birth. The defendant performed the first allegedly improper procedure on the boy about one month after his birth.

After performing the first procedure, the defendant operated 24 more times over a 17 month period. The lawsuit claimed that many of these surgeries were experimental or irresponsible in one way or another. It is claimed that in the last procedure in 2011, the surgeon used a suture device in an unauthorized and improper manner. This last error apparently climaxed a line of progression leading to brain damage and cerebral palsy.

The amount of the settlement recognizes that the child, who is now a 6-year-old, will need continuing care for the rest of his life. The settlement likely also contains an amount for pain and suffering and for the boy's loss of earning capacity for a lifetime. The finding of liability and the arrival at an amount for damages are based on fairly universal concepts applied in the field of medical malpractice tort claims and would apply generally here in Oregon.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "$30M malpractice settlement against doctor who worked at Chicago hospitals", Ameet Sachdev, Feb. 22, 2016