A state appeals court has upheld a $1.4 million Oregon medical malpractice judgment against the Oregon Health & Science University’s hospital and one of its doctors. The court rejected arguments by the university and doctor that state law capped Oregon medical malpractice liability at $200,000, according to local media reports. The Portland Business Journal reports that the hospital plans to appeal the ruling.
The focus of the case is former Portland TV host Ken Ackerman. According to The Oregonian, Ackerman contends that a botched 2003 operation to repair a bulging spinal disk has left him in near constant pain, reduced his dexterity in one hand and reduced his sensitivity to hot and cold on one side of his body. Ackerman sued for $5 million and was awarded $1.4 million after a 2006 Portland medical malpractice trial. His suit also challenged a law limiting damages against state employees performing their official duties to $200,000. The question of whether the law protected the doctor and hospital from damages above that figure was effectively resolved when the State Supreme court overturned the limits in a separate 2007 case.
Ackerman’s latest victory is good news for anyone who has been the victim of Oregon medical malpractice and is seeking compensation for his or her injuries. A Portland medical malpractice attorney can advise clients on the best ways to approach a case, based on the victim’s own particular experiences. In addition to medical bills and lost wages or salary, compensation can include awards for pain and suffering, and for lost potential income. The state’s moves to revise the old caps on liability awards is an important acknowledgement that in this age of ever-rising medical costs the value of damages associated with Oregon medical malpractice claims should also rise accordingly.
Portland Business Journal: OHSU will appeal $1.4M ruling