Portland, Oregon Wrongful Death Settlement Reached Over Surgical Malpractice Death of 3-Year-Old Boy

The parents of a 3-year-old boy that died after surgery have agreed on a $200,000 Portland, Oregon wrongful death settlement with the doctor that performed the procedure. Ian McClellan died from septic shock 8 days after Dr. Jayant Patel perforated the 3-year-old’s bowel while trying to insert a feeding tube inside him. The surgical malpractice incident took place on February 5, 1999.

This is not the first Oregon medical malpractice lawsuit naming Patel as a defendant. Also, in 2000 the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners barred the surgeon from working again in the state. He eventually moved to Australia where he kept performing surgeries. He has been charged with manslaughter in that country over the deaths of three patients. Patel has been called “Dr. Death.”
Per Matthew and Anna Maria McClellan’s Oregon medical malpractice involving fatal injuries to minors lawsuit that they filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Patel discovered the perforation the day after the surgery when he opened up their son again. They say that Patel and the hospitals told them that Ian died because he developed a postoperative infection. It wasn’t until April 15, 2005 when the Oregonian began publishing a number of articles about Patel’s work that they discovered the real reason their son died. The McClellans had originally sued Patel and the hospitals for $1.55 million.

Patel was employed by Kaiser Permanente in Portland. However, he operated on the boy at HSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. According to a 2005 article published on MSNBC.com, Kaiser banned Patel from performing certain operations in 1998 after reviewing 79 of his cases. In addition to no longer being allowed to perform pancreatic and liver surgeries, he had to ask for a second opinion when dealing with more complicated cases.

Surgical Malpractice
Surgical mistakes can be fatal for the patient on the operating table. Some examples of surgical errors that can be grounds for Oregon medical malpractice or wrongful death claims include:

• Operating on the wrong organ or body part
• Using unsanitary surgical tools
• Leaving surgical instruments in the patient’s body
• Puncturing an organ
• Performing the wrong surgery
Parents of Oregon boy settle in surgery lawsuit, Google/AP, July 2, 2009
Australia’s ‘Dr. Death’ linked to 87 fatalities, MSNBC, May 26, 2005
Related Web Resources:
Medical Malpractice and Surgical errors/complications, Wrong Diagnosis
Medical Malpractice, Justia