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Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Doctor errors deprive infants of a chance of a normal life

Women in New Mexico and around the world already know that pregnancy is not a medical condition but one of the most natural processes in human history. However, that does not mean that medical intervention is not needed from time to time in order to ensure the safety and health of the mother and/or the infant. When doctor errors occur and that needed intervention does not happen in a timely manner, the child could be robbed of the chance for a normal life.

One couple in another state alleged that this is what happened to their child. On Dec. 13, 2012, the mother's placenta separated from her uterus. This occurrence, called a placental abruption, deprives the unborn child of oxygen. If an emergency cesarean section is not performed as quickly as possible, the baby could suffer brain damage.

Do you suspect negligence by ER staff at a New Mexico hospital?

Like most New Mexico residents, you more than likely went to the emergency room due to an urgent medical issue of yours or a loved one. You expected the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to be professional, diligent and accurate in their diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, due to any number of factors, that does not always happen, and you or your loved one could have suffered serious or deadly health consequences because of negligence.

Emergency rooms here in New Mexico and around the country are busy. Staff members are often forced to divide their attention among many patients, get in a hurry and are fatigued. They might not take an accurate medical and family history, listen to all of the symptoms or they otherwise fail to gather all of the information needed in order to make an accurate diagnosis. A misdiagnosis can lead to a treatment that exacerbates and worsens the real condition.

Medical malpractice could include making errors with medications

Advances in pharmaceuticals contribute to the fact that many New Mexico residents live longer and healthier lives. However, if a mistake is made in prescribing, dispensing or dosing a medication, a patient could suffer serious or fatal health consequences. More than a few medical malpractice claims have been filed because a health care practitioner made a crucial medication error.

Considering the fact that nearly one-third of all Americans take a minimum of five different medications per day, the chance for error is frighteningly high. Hundreds of thousands of patients experience adverse drug events every year. A percentage of them end up being hospitalized because the adverse reaction is so severe. These mistakes put people's lives in jeopardy.

Insufficient monitoring of newborns can lead to brain injuries

After spending nine months growing in relative comfort, an infant must travel through the birth canal and into the world. During this process, the baby's oxygen supply could be compromised in a variety of ways. If the New Mexico medical staff attending to the mother and infant during labor and delivery fails to sufficiently monitor them both and react quickly to any problems, the baby could suffer brain injuries.

The lack of oxygen to the brain is called hypoxia. Any number of situations can cause hypoxia in an infant. For example, the umbilical cord could wrap around the infant's neck during his or her journey into the world, which means that the baby is essentially being strangled.

Soldier's death blamed on hospital negligence

After the country's servicemen and women return home from armed conflict, they deserve to receive the best medical care possible. Many of New Mexico's retired service members make use of the VA hospitals throughout the state. Sadly, hospital negligence is not limited to civilian hospitals, and even after making it home uninjured, soldiers can suffer serious or fatal injuries.

Two parents filed a lawsuit against a VA hospital after their son's death in Oct. 2014. Their son served in Iraq as a mechanic and as an explosive ordinance disposal specialist in Afghanistan while in the United States Army for eight years. In Jan. 2014, he received a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory bowel disease.

Was negligence responsible for woman's torn esophagus?

An old maxim reminds New Mexico residents to be sure that they are using the right tool for the job they are doing. This sentiment could even apply to the medical profession. Certain tools are required in order to correctly and safely perform even minor surgical procedures. If a doctor fails to use the right equipment for a procedure, it could constitute negligence.

At least, that is what an out-of-state woman is alleging. She swallowed some sort of dental appliance and went to the emergency room of a hospital in her area. In order to remove the appliance, it was necessary to perform an endoscopic procedure. She claims that her esophagus was perforated during the surgery because the doctor failed to use a tool that could have secured the appliance during the procedure. She also claims that the doctor failed to inform her of the risks associated with the procedure.

What doctor errors can occur during birth?

Most New Mexico parents hope their babies will be born happy and healthy. Sadly, the reality for some parents comes crashing down and crushes that dream. When a child comes into this world with an injury or debilitating condition, it can leave parents wondering whether doctor errors were the cause.

Several conditions could be the result of medical negligence during either the pregnancy or birth. Prenatal care is just as important as the birthing process. For example, if a mother's blood pressure is low, or she contracts an infection, during the first six months of gestation that a doctor fails to properly diagnose or treat, the baby could be born with a form of cerebral palsy such as Klumpke's palsy or Erb's palsy. Either of these conditions may also be due to a lack of oxygen to the brain due to the umbilical cord becoming tangled.

What people say about medical malpractice and why it's wrong

Some New Mexico residents may hesitate to take legal action after the death of a loved one in which a doctor, nurse or some other hospital personnel is suspected of making a mistake. You might be one of them. In many of those cases, it is because of unfounded rumors about medical malpractice claims. The fact of the matter is that you should not believe everything you hear. 

One of those myths might be that many medical malpractice claims are frivolous. The fact is that most people are reticent to file claims without an abundance of evidence pointing to negligence that caused or contributed to serious injuries or death. The National Institute of Medicine reports that hundreds of thousands of people suffer injuries and approximately 100,000 people die as the result of a medical mistake every year. Even so, only about 6 percent of the civil lawsuits filed across the country each year are for medical malpractice.