After putting faith in a doctor or surgeon, it can be frustrating and frightening to discover that he or she could have made a mistake that caused serious, permanent or fatal injuries to a patient. A New Mexico resident might suspect that medical malpractice occurred. However, proving it could be a challenge.

Certain circumstances must exist before a medical professional can be accused of malpractice. First, a health care professional must owe a duty to the patient. That duty must be breached through a deviation from the accepted standards of care in the medical professional’s field. If those two conditions are met, it will then be necessary to establish that the substandard care received by the patient led to the injuries — fatal or otherwise — suffered by the patient.

The correct standard must be applied since it would be unreasonable to apply the same care standards to an obstetrician and a vascular surgeon. It will be necessary to enlist the opinion of another medical professional in the same area of medicine to determine what the current accepted standards are. That same individual could then review the circumstances surrounding a patient’s injury or death to determine whether those standards were violated.

If a legal and medical basis for a medical malpractice claim exists, then a lawsuit could be filed in a New Mexico civil court. Both sides will present evidence either supporting or refuting the allegations of the victim, and the court will determine whether the injuries suffered were the result of a medical mistake. If so, an award of damages could then be considered that would help the victim and/or the family with the unexpected financial burdens incurred as a result of the error.

Source: FindLaw, “Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice Cases“, Accessed on Dec. 7, 2016