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Medical malpractice settlement approved, couple will receive $5M

Many medical malpractice cases filed around the country, including many in Oregon, never make it to trial. The parties will often reach a settlement before that happens, which can save all of the parties involved the time and expense of a trial. Furthermore, one or more of the parties involved in a medical malpractice case might not want the case to go to trial because there would be no guaranteed outcome as there is with a settlement.

For example, a judge recently approved a $5 million settlement in which a couple sued several defendants for medical malpractice. The woman went to the emergency room on May 5, 2011 complaining of progressive weakness and confusion. She was admitted to the hospital after an initial diagnosis of a low serum sodium level, called hyponatremia, and a course of 48 hours of a sodium solution was prescribed. Another doctor took over her care without any further testing and continued the treatment.

On May 11, 2011, she was transferred to a different Illinois hospital where she was diagnosed with potine myelinosis, which means that she suffered an injury to the myelin sheath that protects the cores of axons and nerve fibers in the brain. The injury was attributed to a sudden and dramatic increase in sodium in her system from the treatment administered at the other hospital. The woman was not able to return home until December 2014, which is when she left the nursing home, where she had been transferred for long-term care. Purportedly, she still suffers from brain damage.

Even though the defendants say they are not admitting fault, they agreed to settle the medical malpractice claim. This is often an important facet of settlements for the defendants since admitting fault -- or being found to be at fault by a court -- could cost them more in both monetary and non-monetary ways than paying a sizable settlement. Before accepting any settlement offers related to medical malpractice claims, Oregon residents should consult with counsel to ensure that the settlements are in their best interests.

Source:, "$5 million medical malpractice settlement OK'd vs doctors, Northwest Community Hospital", Emma Gallimore, Jan. 22, 2016

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