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Oregon Supreme Court Slashes OHSU Payout To Klamath Falls Family

<p>OHSU is re-thinking its relationship with Moda. </p>

Courtesy Veteran's Affairs

OHSU is re-thinking its relationship with Moda.

The Oregon Supreme Court reversed a lower court ruling Thursday, effectively reducing how much money one Oregon family is getting from a malpractice lawsuit by millions of dollars.

The case involves a Klamath Falls infant who developed liver cancer. During surgery at Oregon Health & Science University, a doctor cut blood vessels to the boy’s liver. The boy needed organ transplants and will need his health closely monitored for the rest of his life.

A Multnomah County jury awarded the family $12 million in 2013. OHSU appealed, arguing Oregon’s Tort Claims Act limits the university’s liability to $3 million.

The Oregon Supreme Court examined whether the Tort Claims Act conflicted with the “remedy clause” in the state constitution.

The justices concluded it doesn’t, and ruled 5-to-2 in favor of OHSU.

The decision could mean smaller payouts for government agencies in the future. But it’s bad news for plaintiffs like this Klamath Falls family.

The case was formally remanded Thursday to Multnomah County to reduce the judgment award.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rob Manning is a news editor at Oregon Public Broadcasting, with oversight of reporters covering education, healthcare and business. Rob became an editor in 2019, following about 15 years covering schools and universities in Oregon and southwest Washington as OPB’s education reporter.