New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorneys Curtis & Lucero

Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Slick floors, unsafe conditions and negligence

In hospitals across the country, patients are mistreated in many ways, unfortunately. However, some examples of hospital negligence are less common and receive less attention, which is why patients and their loved ones should be aware of the many different ways in which hospital negligence may manifest in Albuquerque or another part of New Mexico. For example, someone who is staying in a hospital may be hurt due to falling down on a slick floor or as a result of some other unsafe property condition, such as a tripping hazard that was not addressed. Moreover, these accidents may constitute malpractice as well.

First of all, any unsafe circumstances in a hospital need to be addressed right away. Unfortunately, some of these hazards, such as a slick floor due to a spill or a leak, are left unattended until some gets hurt. Moreover, there may be instances where a medical professional should have taken better care of his or her patient, leading to a slip-and-fall accident. There are other reasons why people may fall down while in a hospital, such as those who were unable to walk properly because they were given too many medications or someone who was left unattended or put in an inadequate bed.

Unsafe hospital conditions can result in injuries

Generally speaking, New Mexico hospitals are places of healing. However, with the amount of foot traffic, both inpatient and visitor as well as bodily fluids and liquid supplies, you may come out of the medical facility more injured than when you entered. At Curtis & Lucero, we have experience representing individuals who have had a slip-and-fall injury in a hospital.

According to FindLaw, patients can be injured by falling while recuperating from a procedure, whether it is a significant surgery or giving blood. Walking is often required as part of a post-operative rehab routine. Typically, a member of the staff is assigned to accompany individuals as they make their way down the hall. If you are not strong enough to remain upright or if you are heavily medicated, you may fall. Injuries sustained in this type of slip-and-fall include sprains, strains, breaks and bumps, depending on your physical condition and the position of your body as it falls.

The risk of high-alert medications

When a loved one is in a New Mexico hospital, it can be a stressful experience. Even if the hospitalization is for a minor procedure, it can cause apprehension and fear. Medication mistakes are likely one of the last things on your mind. At Curtis & Lucero, we often represent clients whose loved ones’ wrongful death is the result of an overdose of high-alert medications.

High-alert medications are a group of drugs that can cause serious harm when administered in incorrect doses or in error. American Nurse Today reports that these medications have a higher risk of patient injury than those that do not share particular characteristics. If your loved one does not receive precisely the right dosage, HAMs can result in adverse drug events.

Failure to obtain informed consent is a crime

As a patient in New Mexico, the choice to receive a particular medical treatment is entirely in your hands. Doctors are required by law to advise you about the procedure, its benefits and any anticipated side effects. This is called informed consent. At Curtis and Lucero, we represent clients who have not received the information they need to make a knowledgeable decision from their doctor.

Forbes reports that every state has laws mandating some form of informed consent, as well as the types of situations, surgeries and procedures that require the consent. Despite this, there are situations when the doctor does not provide the information in a manner that the patient understands. There are six components of an explanation required for informed consent. They are as follows:

  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure/treatment
  • Side effects, risks and benefits of the procedure
  • Procedure alternatives
  • Side effects, risks and benefits of the alternative
  • Risks and benefits of no procedure

Never events continue, despite universal protocol

For many people in New Mexico, the thought of undergoing even the most minor surgery is cause for concern. The idea that a medical error could have catastrophic results due to wrong site surgery can be terrifying. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that never events such as wrong-site errors are rare when compared to other preventable medical errors. However, when they occur, the consequences may be disastrous.  

A never event is an adverse event or severe medical error that should never happen. Typically, wrong-site operation occurs when a surgical procedure takes place on the wrong part of the body. This could mean that the surgery is on the left side when it should have been on the right side. It could also be the result of the procedure being on the correct side but an incorrect anatomical part.

Can lack of oxygen during birth cause brain injuries?

“Fetal distress” typically refers to a soon-to-be-born child’s inadequate access to oxygen before, throughout and immediately after labor. If you believe your child suffers from a preventable brain injury that occurred during labor or near birth in New Mexico, you may have the basis for a lawsuit.

Doctors use electronic fetal heart rate tracking. It enables medical personnel to check vital signs during labor and tracks contractions. If hypoxia develops, the medical staff can take steps before it becomes asphyxia. This lack of oxygen at birth can result in developmental delays and long-term disabilities. A consequence of incorrect analysis of the FHR monitoring may be delivering the baby via Caesarian when a vaginal delivery would have been most appropriate.

Hospital-acquired infections: More common than you may realize

Basic safety measures taken by hospitals should stop a patient from contracting a hospital-acquired infection. However, the sad truth is that corners are sometimes cut and certain measures are over-looked, leading to unnecessary pain and suffering, physical damage, and a tremendous amount of unnecessary medical bills for patients.

We are not talking small numbers either. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in the U.S., one in 25 patients will contract at least one healthcare-associated infection. As a recent article points out, around two million patients wind up with a hospital-acquired infection and approximately 90,000 die each year from these infections.

Misdiagnosis errors can result in death

The death of a family member is devastating, no matter what the circumstances. When death occurs as a result of a medical mistake or diagnostic error in New Mexico, it may be the basis for a lawsuit. At Curtis & Lucero, we often represent people whose loved ones have died as a result of a medical mistake 

CBS News reports that approximately 12 million adults who seek medical care in outpatient clinics or medical offices are misdiagnosed annually. The diagnostic process is complicated, and any given symptom may have many potential causes. If the doctor is rushed, details regarding family history and symptom descriptions may not receive the attention needed for an accurate diagnosis. Errors can also result from a breakdown in communication between healthcare professionals, from test results analysis to providers.

Medication dispensing errors in hospitals cause serious harm

When you go to the hospital in New Mexico, it’s typically because you are sick or injured. You check in with the goal of receiving treatment to feel better and to ensure the injuries are attended to for proper healing. Unfortunately, in some cases, the situation not only doesn’t improve, it takes a turn for the worse. At Curtis & Lucero, we understand that if the hospital refuses responsibility for injuries caused while under their care, you need someone to fight for you.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, hospitals experience equipment problems, interruptions during the administration of medications and dispensing errors at the pharmacy. In situations where the failure to maintain a patient’s standard of care results in injury, a medical malpractice suit may be filed. Such circumstances include the following:

  • Injuries suffered during birth
  • Prescribing the wrong medicine
  • Failure to make the correct diagnosis
  • Inadequate treatment for a diagnosed condition

Registration errors can cause serious issues for patients

When you check in at a clinic or hospital in New Mexico, you will likely receive a clipboard with a sheaf of papers to read and fill out. You may speak to two or three people after you turn these in, but before you see a physician, and each of these communication opportunities also comes with the inherent risk of a mistake. At the law office of Curtis & Lucero, we recognize that errors in the registration process can make the difference in whether or not a patient receives the proper care.

According to Privasent, patient identity errors are a major issue during registration, in part due to the following:

  • Unfamiliar temporary staff
  • Busy waiting room
  • Inadequate workflow protocol
  • Deficient registrar training

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Curtis & Lucero
215 Central Avenue NW
Suite 300
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Phone: 505-633-7998
Fax: 505-242-0812
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