It is natural for patients to seek medical care in larger hospitals and medical centers, especially those that have training programs. The common thought is that these facilities have the top doctors, offer the most sub-specialty care and have the best and newest equipment for diagnosis and surgery. While this may be true in some cases, these hospitals are also often extremely busy and overcrowded, and care is at times performed by residents who could miss things that a seasoned physician would catch. Because of these reasons, top teaching hospitals make mistakes and face negligence claims perhaps even more often than smaller community hospitals.
Readers in New Mexico may be interested in a recent article about a woman who went in for a routine check-up at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Parkland is one of the busiest and largest teaching hospitals in the country, and it is considered an excellent public hospital by many in the Dallas area and throughout the country. In fact, the patient stated that she trusted the hospital implicitly after having all three of her children there and receiving excellent care for her heart condition and diabetes over the years.
During her most recent visit, however, the physician she saw informed her that she had a broken piece of catheter lodged in her aorta. Even more disturbing, it had been present there for seven years. During this time, the patient had undergone 22 chest X-rays, and her legal team has documented that the fragment showed up on one of the X-rays taken in 2007.
After contacting the hospital multiple times and receiving nothing but an apology letter that stated the hospital was reviewing the matter, she finally sought an attorney’s assistance. After the carefully reviewing years of medical records, her attorney determined that the hospital’s physicians knew there was a problem for years. One of the records showed a note written by a first-year resident about the catheter, but apparently he only contacted another resident about the problem, who had only one more year of experience, instead of contacting the overseeing physician.
The lawsuit is ongoing between the patient and Parkland Hospital. Patients in New Mexico facing similar situations may benefit from seeking legal counsel. An attorney can best explain the legal options a patient can pursue when faced with hospital negligence.