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Medical Malpractice

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Medical Negligence or Medical Malpractice?

Medical negligence occurs when a doctor does something to a patient that a reasonably careful physician would not do or when a doctor fails to do something in treating a patient that the doctor should have done. Doctors are required to provide treatment to their patients that meets the medical standard of care, which is defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled doctor in the medical community would have provided under the same circumstances.

Medical negligence becomes medical malpractice when the doctor’s negligent treatment causes an undue injury to a patient. In Oregon, in order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, the patient must show each of the following:

  1. The existence of a doctor-patient relationship. This seems obvious, but issues arise when a physician called in for a consult did not actually provide one-on-one treatment.
  2. The doctor was negligent. The patient must show that the doctor’s negligence caused harm to the patient by doing something that a competent doctor would not have done under the same circumstances. This is usually the biggest hurdle to overcome and requires a medical expert to provide proof that the doctor’s actions fell below the standard of care in the medical community.
  3. The doctor’s negligence caused injury to the patient. The patient must prove that the doctor’s negligence directly injured the patient in a way that would not have occurred if the doctor had provided competent and skilled care. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for a malignant brain tumor it may be difficult to prove that the doctor’s actions caused the death rather than the brain tumor. Again, this will require a medical expert to prove that the doctor’s incompetence caused the patient’s injury.
  4. The injury resulted in specific damages. This is simply proof of the harm the patient suffered; physical injury and impairment, medical bills, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.


  • A delay or failure in diagnosing a disease
  • A failure to provide proper treatment for a correctly diagnosed condition
  • A failure to obtain the informed consent of the patient for a surgical procedure
  • A surgical or anesthesia-related mistake during an operation
  • A misuse of prescription drugs or a medical device or implant
  • A delivery mishap and birth injuries

A review of the patient’s complete medical records is necessary in order to determine whether there is a claim for medical malpractice. This often includes the patient’s medical records for 2-3 years prior to the incident giving rise to the claim. Brian Dretke has extensive experience in conducting an initial review of the medical records to identify potential issues in the doctor’s treatment of the patient. After his initial review, Brian will have a board certified medical expert conduct a complete review of the records and the circumstances surrounding the patient’s medical care to determine whether the case has merit. If the medical expert confirms this, a malpractice claim may be pursued by The Dretke Law Firm against those who provided medical care to the patient, including doctors, nurses and hospitals. This includes potential claims against medical entities such as partnerships and corporations.

If you have been injured as a result of medical negligence you may be entitled to recover:

  • Compensation for past and future medical expenses
  • Compensation for past and future wage loss, including any impairment of future earning capacity due to the injury
  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to care
  • Noneconomic damages for loss of quality of life, inconvenience, emotional distress, and pain and suffering
  • Noneconomic damages for physical impairment and disfigurement as a result of the injury

If your health insurance paid for medical treatment that was necessary because of a doctor’s medical negligence, your insurer may have a right to be reimbursed for those expenses from the doctor’s or hospital’s insurance carrier, or from any settlement you receive from the doctor or hospital. Before accepting a settlement, it is important for an attorney to closely review your health insurance policy to determine the extent to which your health insurance company has a right to repayment.

The Dretke Law Firm Has Experience in Medical Malpractice Cases

If you or a loved one was injured due to a doctor, nurse or hospital failing to provide you with proper medical care or treatment, you may have a medical malpractice claim. The Dretke Law Firm is here to evaluate your case and guide you through the legal process. We understand that a lawsuit will not reverse the harms caused by the medical negligence, but we also recognize that it is important to hold negligent care providers accountable for their mistakes. Brian Dretke is professional and works hard for your right to recover compensation. Call The Dretke Law firm for a free consultation.


This website provides information about a particular physician or hospital.

This website is maintained by the Oregon Medical Board and allows the pubic to verify a physician’s license, obtain disciplinary information, and find malpractice information.

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