We impart a lot of trust when putting our health in the care of medical professionals. We believe that they are looking out for what is best for each of us as the patient.
Though this is often the case, there are times when mistakes are made. Even worse, there are times when improper or incompetent care takes place, resulting in further injury or even loss of life. Neglect in care is known as medical malpractice. Thankfully, there are laws and regulations in place to protect the rights of the injured party, and for them to be compensated.
Our Las Cruces-based team at Harmonson Law Firm has years of experience helping families through personal injury cases like medical malpractice cases. Keep reading for a summary of the basics of medical malpractice in New Mexico and the types of medical malpractice cases we handle.
What is Medical Malpractice in New Mexico?
Medical malpractice is when a health care professional performs improper care or is incompetent in a patient’s care, resulting in further injuries or loss of life.
In New Mexico, an injured patient has the right to file a civil suit for medical malpractice. While there are many different types of cases in medical malpractice in New Mexico, there are common types of cases, including:
- Failure to treat
- Medication mistakes
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Bedsores also know as pressure ulcers
Health diagnoses can be difficult. It can sometimes take quite a while to get a proper diagnosis and understand what might be impacting your health.
In some cases, even when a doctor is doing everything right, a misdiagnosis occurs. However, it becomes medical malpractice when a doctor doesn’t do their due diligence.
Medical malpractice in the context of misdiagnosis occurs when healthcare professionals:
- Do not follow standard methods and protocols
- Do not use the correct tests
- Do not go through a process of elimination
- Carelessly fail to recognize symptoms
- Do not refer the patient to a specialist
- Fail to interpret test results
In any of these instances, the doctor may be guilty of misdiagnosis.
Failure to Treat
Failure to treat is more easily recognizable in the context of medical malpractice. This is where healthcare professionals are aware of what the problem is but do not work to treat it.
Some instances in which this might occur induce:
- A patient’s inability to pay
- Prematurely discharging a patient
- Failing to follow up with a patient, including nursing staff’s failure to follow doctor’s orders for a patient.
The correct dosage and prescription are critical for a patient in treatment.
The responsibility of healthcare professionals in terms of medication also includes making sure that current prescriptions won’t negatively affect a patient due to medical history, and making sure the dosage is correct for the patient’s particular body composition.
If there is a failure to do either of these important steps, there can be severe consequences to the patient’s health. In that case, a patient may be able to file for medical malpractice.
Surgeries offer risks that are usually explained upfront for all parties involved. All medical staff in the room must work together to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
Therefore, carelessness during surgery can result in medical malpractice.
Here’s how that can look:
- 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
- Foreign objects left behind in the body cavity
Hospital and physician errors can also occur while the mother is delivering a baby– mistakes during a C-section or failing to timely perform a c-section, for example. Nursing staff’s failure to inform the physician of signs of fetal distress resulting in delayed treatment is another error that can lead to a preventable birth injury
There are other mistakes that can occur during birth, as well. All these preventable mistakes can lead to serious injury of both the child and the parent.
For this reason, physicians and healthcare professionals are encouraged to be as careful as possible at all times, and there are protections in place to ensure victims of these errors can obtain proper compensation with the help of a dedicated medical malpractice attorney.
Bedsores also known as pressure ulcers
Complications due to bedsores (“pressure ulcers”) acquired in a hospital or nursing home are another type of medical malpractice claim that commonly occurs in New Mexico. Though common, bedsores are almost always preventable when healthcare providers follow accepted standards of care. These standards involve moving bedridden patients regularly to alleviate pressure on the skin. Failing to do so may be considered medical negligence, and the affected patients (or their surviving family members) may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Contact Harmonson Law Firm in New Mexico
Clark Harmonson, founder and lead attorney of the Harmonson Law Firm, has over 17 years of experience in medical malpractice cases. Our team understands how to navigate the complex legal system when it comes to these cases, and we do so with compassion. Call our Las Cruces office today to get started on your case.