OHSU Ducks Responsibility | Letters to the Editor | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Your support for independent local news is important.

The Source Weekly has been Central Oregon’s locally owned news outlet for over 23 years. We have always been the definition of "support local." Our success in navigating this new world is tied to the success we experience in pulling together for the common good.

Quality local journalism takes a group of dedicated reporters passionate about democracy and open government. This story is the result of our hard work, and in normal times, the result of the support of the advertisers in Central Oregon. In the age of COVID-19, however, that support has taken a hit—but that’s where you come in.

Before you read on, we ask you to consider becoming a member of our Source Insider membership program at bendsource.com/insider.

Support Us Here

Opinion » Letters to the Editor

OHSU Ducks Responsibility

As a general internist in Portland for 30 years, I often treat a patient with needs that require the expertise of a consultant. When faced


1 comment

As a general internist in Portland for 30 years, I often treat a patient with needs that require the expertise of a consultant. When faced with the question of where the patient should be referred, among the important criteria we discuss are the facility's patient safety record and its insurance coverage in case the medical staff commits an act of negligence.

While the tram ride is beautiful and the multimillion-dollar riverfront development and new buildings on the hillside are state of the art, I don't recommend OHSU to my patients. That's because OHSU receives special privileges and unfair competitive advantages enjoyed by no other medical center in Oregon - placing business over patient care and safety.

The legislature several years ago described OHSU as a public agency, and since then the hospital has been protected under the state's tort claims act. If a patient at OHSU is negligently injured and his or her life is ruined, the person cannot recover the costs to pay for the injuries.

I applaud the Oregon Supreme Court ruling in the Jordaan Clarke case, telling OHSU that no one hospital should enjoy special privileges. If negligent care is proven, even wrongdoers at OHSU can be held accountable and pay for the permanent damage caused.

We are seeing OHSU's response. Rather than addressing its own financial mismanagement, the university is making a scapegoat of 9-year-old Jordaan Clarke, a boy who is disabled for life because the hospital staff deprived him of oxygen for 14 minutes. OHSU is threatening budget cuts, clinic closures and tuition hikes. It's a classic case of transferring blame from where it belongs - the institution's own bad financial decisions.

I am disappointed at OHSU's "woe is me" public relations assault. Not once, while pointing the finger at Jordaan and other victims, while crying about the need to purchase malpractice insurance, have the leaders on the hill talked about delivering a quality product to Oregonians. I know, from my own experience, the cost of insurance goes down when you make fewer mistakes. I'd like someone at OHSU to step up and promise safer medical procedures. In lieu of that, just pay for the insurance - like every other hospital has always done.

As a doctor, I tend to think of OHSU as a teaching institution. In that role, its primary mission should be to teach the responsibilities of medical professionalism and the art of caring for the patient. I dare say that a refusal to be accountable and a penchant for blaming your troubles on your patients teaches the wrong lesson.

Dr. Tom Saddoris, Portland


Showing 1-1 of 1


Add a comment

Latest in Letters to the Editor

More by Eric Flowers