In sparsely populated and remote areas, it can be difficult to get the care needed for critically ill patients, especially when seconds count. Because of this, there are times that patients do not receive the necessary care to save their lives, which can often result in medical malpractice lawsuits. Data collected by a neurosurgeon in Albuquerque has helped determine that telemedicine could be a way to give New Mexico residents the necessary level of care to save their lives, while allowing the patients to remain in the comfortable surroundings of their own local hospitals.
In years past, patients in rural New Mexico who exhibited certain life-threatening symptoms, such as those indicating a stroke, would be automatically flown via helicopter to the only Level 1 Trauma center in the state. This option was not only expensive and often unnecessary, but at times could cost precious minutes that determined whether the patient lived or died. The new telemedicine strategy would be to connect rural emergency room physicians to specialists in Albuquerque via video and to be able to share necessary radiological scans. This would allow the physicians to determine the best course of action for the patient.
There are many reasons that hospitals are moving toward the telemedicine model. While patient care is foremost in the minds of most physicians and hospitals, there are other factors involved. Hospitals and physicians do not want to be held responsible if a patient passes away under their watch.
Despite these new and promising developments, those in New Mexico who have faced the loss of a loved one due to inadequate medical care can still pursue a lawsuit against a physician or hospital. An attorney that focuses on medical malpractice law will be able to discuss an evaluate a client’s situation. The attorney will then be able to advise their client about the best path to seek legal recourse when and if warranted.
Source: hcn.org, “Telemedicine shrinks the West’s vast health desert“, Leah Todd, Sept. 5, 2016