New Mexico Medical Malpractice Attorneys Curtis & Lucero

Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Study looks to find correlations between doctor burnout and error

When people in New Mexico head to their doctor in search of solutions for discomforting symptoms, they rely heavily on their health care provider's ability to provide high quality and thorough care. Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes at times which can leave patients fighting for their life or suffering diminished quality of life. Experts suggest that patients be an active advocate for their own health and wellbeing by going to their doctor prepared to ask questions and receive answers. 

Doctor error can be blamed on a variety of factors including poor communication, confusion, fatigue and even distraction. However, a recent study is working to establish a correlation between doctors being burned out and errors occurring. The results were stunning: Of all of the physicians that were surveyed, many expressed that they had experienced thoughts of depression, suicide or fatigue at some point or another in their career. In fact, a conclusion was drawn that doctors who considered themselves to be burned out were nearly two times more likely to make a medical error when compared with other health care specialists. 

Why can the brain bleed weeks after a head injury?

If you have been in an accident in New Mexico where your head slammed on a hard surface, be sure to mark the date. You might not have any problems -- no headache, no dizziness, no blurry vision -- but six weeks down the line, you might. That head injury could lead to a slow brain bleed, which will not show any outside symptoms right away. In fact, it might not even show up on a CT scan. 

chronic subdural hematoma is very slow bleeding in the brain. Older folks are more at risk for it, but it can happen to anyone who has experienced trauma to the brain. Symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Trouble walking
  • Impaired memory
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty speaking

Medical professionals have a duty to reveal doctor errors

At Curtis & Lucero, we understand that just like any other professionals in New Mexico, doctors can make mistakes. These can be catastrophic when your diagnosis is serious.

Catching the error early could save your life, but it often takes a medical professional to identify such a mistake. So, in order to reduce the chances of a negative outcome from a mistake, you may want to get a second opinion after any serious diagnosis. According to Physicians Weekly, upon reviewing your condition, the diagnosis and the treatment plan, if the new doctor identifies an error, he or she has a duty of care to tell you about it.

Who are the beneficiaries of a wrongful death judgment?

If you have lost a sibling because of a medical mistake made at a New Mexico hospital, you may be wondering how the family will cover the resulting medical bills, the funeral expenses and the loss of income. At this time, your deceased loved one's personal representative may determine that it is best to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital, the doctor and any other parties whose negligence played a part in the tragedy

The personal representative is typically the person named as the executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate. However, even though that person is filing the lawsuit, he or she does not keep the proceeds of the award. According to the New Mexico Statutes, a spouse is always one of the beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit award. In fact, if there are no children or grandchildren, then the spouse is the only beneficiary. In the event your sibling did have children and/or grandchildren, then the spouse would receive half of the award, and the children and/or grandchildren would receive the other half. If your sibling was unmarried, the children and/or grandchildren would be the beneficiaries of the entire amount.

Delayed treatment is often deadly

When parents take their child to a New Mexico hospital, they expect to at least be seen by a doctor. However, according to U.S. News, one couple reportedly lost their 15-year-old son to an internal infection because he was not adequately screened. As a result of the mistake made that evening, their lawsuit states, they were told it would take eight hours before a doctor could come and examine the boy. He died the next day.

According to The Joint Commission, Division of Health Care Improvement, this type of error is often due to a faulty system rather than a single person's mistake. Whether the negligence is due to an individual's action or a facility's failure, though, the result is more often fatal than not. Over a five-year period, one study revealed 522 sentinel events that were caused from treatment delays; 415 were fatal. Of those who did not die, 77 lost some level of function permanently, and 24 had to undergo additional treatment or extended hospitalization. 

What should patients know about robotic surgery?

When your doctor tells you that a surgical procedure is necessary, you want to know all the details before you check in to the New Mexico facility where it will be performed. If one of the recommendations is for robotic surgery, you may want to do a little research first.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a surgical robot may well improve your surgeon's ability to perform laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon manipulates the robot through a computer program, and lights and cameras produce magnified images that allow a much better view of the area. Not only that, the robot can make much smaller and more precise movements than even an extremely skilled surgeon can be expected to make.

Helping your child learn to live with a traumatic brain injury

Your child has recently returned home from the hospital after an extensive recovery for a traumatic brain injury. You are now entering a new phase of life where you and your family will need to work together to help your injured child learn how to live with the significant lifestyle changes that are a consequence of his or her TBI. At Curtis & Lucero Attorneys, we have helped many families in New Mexico to work through the legal process when their child has been the victim of a serious TBI. 

While it is often said that children are resilient and able to bounce back from difficult situations much faster than an older person, your child is still facing an uncertain road to recovery. In fact, some things may never be the same for him or her. Acknowledging these differences, embracing them and finding ways to advocate for his or her success are critical points in facilitating an effective recovery for your child. 

What patients should know about informed consent

When people in New Mexico discuss a medical condition with their doctors, many may have questions about their diagnosis and the recommended treatment plans. In many cases, according to the American Medical Association, doctors are required by the code of medical ethics to obtain informed consent from patients before proceeding with treatment.

Medline Plus explains that while doctors are professionals, patients are partners in managing their own medical care. As such, they must be informed. Health care providers should be open and honest in all their discussions with patients, but not every treatment requires a signed consent form. Those that usually do require informed consent include the following:

  • Vaccinations
  • Cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy
  • Most surgeries
  • Complex or advanced medical procedures such as a biopsy

Judge rules New Mexico’s medical malpractice cap unconstitutional

In a huge win for the patients of New Mexico – in a potentially precedent-setting court case – Judge Victor S. Lopez ruled that the medical malpractice cap of $600,000 is unconstitutional. At this time, the ruling is tied to just one woman’s case, but it does have the potential to apply to all medical malpractice cases throughout the state, now that the Defendants have appealed.

To understand this recent ruling, it’s important to take a step back and look at what happened leading up to this point. Back in December, we posted on this case. For a brief recap, we brought a medical malpractice case against a doctor who made a near deadly mistake during a surgery. Large holes were left in the woman’s uterus and intestines and she almost died. She ended up having to re-learn how to eat, walk and talk again, and spent months on a ventilator. She now has permanent physical and psychological damage.

Under-reported medical errors and wrongful death

From cancer to heart disease and traffic collisions, there are many reasons why people pass way. Sadly, medical errors are another major cause of death in the U.S. and it can be especially painful for the loved ones of those who pass on to know that their death should never have happened. Medical errors can result in a wrongful death in many different ways and it is essential for those who have lost a family member due to the mistakes of a medical professional to stand up for their rights and seek justice.

Medical errors cause fatalities in various ways, from surgical mistakes to prescription errors. Moreover, a patient may pass away due to being neglected, because of an incorrect treatment, as a result of a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, or a number of other reasons. Regardless, these fatalities remain all too common and have claimed the lives of many people who did not receive the level of care that they expected.

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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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