Medical malpractice describes unskilled, improper or incompetent care by a doctor or another health care professional that results in injury or death to a patient. In New Mexico, an injured patient has the right to file a civil suit for medical malpractice. A lawsuit can result in financial compensation awarded to the patient for his or her related medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. Learning the most common types of medical malpractice in New Mexico can help you determine whether or not you have grounds for a lawsuit.
One of the most important tasks completed by physicians is diagnosing a patient’s injury, illness or medical condition. Although no doctor is expected to make a correct diagnosis 100 percent of the time, all doctors must act within the diagnostic requirements of the medical profession. The failure to do so, resulting in harm or injury to a patient, is medical malpractice.
There are methods and protocols all physicians most use to diagnose patients, such as using the correct tests and the process of elimination. If a doctor carelessly fails to recognize symptoms, refer the patient to a specialist or interpret test results, the doctor may be guilty of misdiagnosis. Other diagnostic errors are failure to diagnose and delayed diagnosis. Diagnostic mistakes can result in a patient not receiving the correct treatment or being left untreated.
Failure to Treat
Failure to treat is a type of medical malpractice that can refer to refusing to treat a patient for the inability to pay, prematurely discharging a patient or failing to follow up with a patient. Failure to treat can interfere with a patient’s ability to make a full recovery. This type of malpractice is most common at a busy hospital or doctor’s office that has more patients than it can handle.
Millions of patients depend on having the correct type and dosage of prescription medications to treat their conditions. It is extremely important for a doctor to carefully check a patient’s medical history, look for any potential drug interactions or allergies, and write out the correct prescription and dosage. Other health care professionals also have a responsibility to administer the correct drug, such as nurses and pharmacists. If someone makes a dangerous medication mistake, such as prescribing or administering the wrong drug or dose, the patient can suffer serious consequences.
Surgeries are extremely complex and delicate procedures. Everyone involved, including the surgeon, nurses, assistants and anesthesiologists, must work together to ensure the operation goes as planned. Carelessness during surgery can result in dangerous examples of malpractice, such as:
- Lack of informed consent
- Unnecessary surgery
- “Never events” (wrong-patient, wrong-site, wrong-surgery errors)
- Anesthesia errors
- Nicked nerves or arteries
- Damage to healthy body parts
- Objects left behind in the body cavity
- Mistakes during a C-section
Surgical complications can arise even when everyone involved obeys their duties of care. You may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim, however, if there is proof that a surgeon made a mistake that a reasonable and prudent party would not have in the same or similar circumstances.
Pregnancy, labor and delivery make up a unique facet of the medical practice that requires specialized knowledge, training and care. If an obstetrician, gynecologist or another health care practitioner makes a preventable mistake during a mother’s pregnancy or childbirth, it can result in serious birth injuries. Examples of preventable mistakes are the incorrect use of forceps, failure to monitor fetal vital signs and C-section errors. The negligent physician may be held accountable for a birth injury, as may the hospital or birthing center.
If you believe you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice in Albuquerque, contact a medical malpractice lawyer to request a free case evaluation.