Portland Hospital Deaths Drop In Wake of New Procedures

As a recent report in The Oregonian details, Adventist Medical Center has witnessed a dramatic drop in Portland hospital deaths from bloodstream infections in the three-plus years since it instituted a new set of simple, but effective, safety procedures. The development is obviously good for patients, but it also has implications for Oregon wrongful death and medical malpractice claims related to our state’s hospitals.

The paper explains that in 2006 Adventist began implementing a set of relatively simple procedures developed at Maryland’s Johns Hopkins University. These involve medical professionals carefully checking each other to ensure thorough hand-washing before care-givers have contact with patients, greater attention to the use of antiseptics to clean patients skin and more extensive use of “full surgical regalia”.

As the paper reports, data collected by the state shows a dramatic drop in mortality and infection rates once the new procedures went into effect – especially when compared with other Portland area hospitals that do not follow the Johns Hopkins guidelines. The newspaper, citing Adventist’s director of quality resources, reports that there have been no ICU infections at the hospital since the spring of 2007.

These dramatic results also raise troubling legal questions. If Oregon deaths or debilitating injuries result from infections that could have been easily prevented does this constitute Oregon medical malpractice, particularly if the want of simple sanitary precautions leads to a Portland wrongful death?

The specifics of every case are different. That is why consultation with an experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney is so crucial if a loved one has died or if you have suffered a serious injury or infection in a Portland-area hospital where the Johns Hopkins procedures were not in place. A Portland wrongful death lawyer can offer valuable advice regarding the legal options that may be open to you, and fight the medical industry to get the justice you deserve.

The Oregonian: Preventing hospital infections: How Portland hospitals compare