Time to Settle, OHSU
OHSU was among several state organizations that enjoyed protection against hefty lawsuit damages, but that ended in December 2007 when the Oregon Supreme Court removed the $200,000 cap on damages. As a result, OHSU finally settled six ongoing cases—cases that were filed in 2001 or earlier—agreeing to pay damages totaling $38.5 million. The settled cases included an award of $9.3 million for the family of Jordaan Clarke, who suffered permanent brain damage as a result of a botched operation in 1998, as well as an $11.8 million award to Christian Wright and a $8.3 million award for Adam Cristopherson, both of whom sustained permanent damage from surgeries.
There are still some 329 open liability and malpractice cases against OHSU. OHSU may be in for additional changes next year, when the state legislature votes on whether or not to raise caps on damages to $1.5 million.