Putting your life in the hands of another individual takes a lot of faith. Yet, it is what patients do every day when they consent to medical care and treatment from healthcare professionals. From the diagnosing and treatment of ailments and medical conditions to surgery to repair serious damage or injury, patients put their health and well-being – and even their lives – into the hands of medical professionals.
Medical errors are ranked as the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. behind only heart disease and cancer. Those are just the individuals who have died due to medical malpractice. The figures are a bit murkier when it comes to the number of those living with permanent injuries caused by medical errors. A report from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement suggests that 1 in 5 Americans have experienced a medical error while receiving care. The same report indicates a majority of patients who were victims of medical errors and misjudgments in care do not report it because they do not believe it will help. Another 40 percent of patients included in the report said they did not file an accounting of the perceived incident because they were unsure how to do so.
As patients, we must place our trust in the healthcare professionals charged with our care. Even the best healthcare practitioners can make mistakes, and when they do, those errors in judgment can significantly impact patients’ lives.
Several common medical errors lead to malpractice claims.
Patients who have suffered any one of these common experiences can consult with our team of medical malpractice professionals to determine if a lawsuit is appropriate. We have the experience and knowledge to evaluate your case for efficacy and advise whether a lawsuit or other approach is better suited to your scenario.
Before the COVID-19 global pandemic, telehealth was not widely used by Americans. With its use on the uptick here in the U.S. and across the globe, it has the potential to influence the number of medical malpractice cases in the U.S. There are several concerns attributed to telehealth:
Patients who are living with permanent damage and suffering caused by medical errors may not realize there is a difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice. While the two legal terms sound similar, one involves intent while the other does not.
By legal definition, medical malpractice involves the breach of duty of care by a medical practitioner or healthcare facility. If a patient can prove a healthcare provider used treatment or procedure that was inappropriate for their care, this lends itself to intent. Medical negligence involves a mistake that is made by a medical practitioner or healthcare facility that results in temporary or permanent pain or injury to the patient. The difference between malpractice and negligence is that medical negligence is considered a true mistake, with no intent on the part of the medical provider or facility to cause injury to the patient. An example would be a surgeon leaving a sponge inside a patient after a surgical procedure. That would be considered negligence, not malpractice.
If you are unsure whether your case falls under the guidelines of medical malpractice or medical negligence, the experienced team at Romero Law can help. We have the expertise to help sort through your case and approach it in a manner that will ensure a successful outcome.
Identifying the Four Ds of Medical Malpractice can help patients determine if they should pursue a case against a medical practitioner or healthcare facility.
D#1 – Duty of Care
Once a healthcare practitioner or facility agrees to provide medical services or treatment to a patient, they have a duty of care to uphold. This simply means that the healthcare professional or facility treating the patient has anticipated all risks involved with doing so and will take care to prevent the patient from being harmed during treatment.
D#2 – Deviation From Care Standards
Healthcare professionals and facilities are expected to provide patients with a level of care similar to what they would receive from another qualified healthcare practitioner under similar circumstances. Deviations can include the misinterpretation of a diagnostic test or report, prescribing the wrong medication or improper dosages of medication, and recommending surgery that is not necessary for the successful treatment of an injury or illness.
D#3 – Direct Cause
This goes back to the notion of intent. A patient must be able to prove an act of a healthcare provider or facility was the direct cause of their injury and not another intervening event. Take, for example, the situation with the sponge left inside a patient after a surgical procedure that later caused a secondary infection. That would be clear actionable causation, as the patient would have documentation of the sponge being identified as the cause of the infection. There may be other circumstances that are not as clear-cut. Proving causation could involve medical reports and witness testimony to support the claim.
D#4 – Damages
A medical malpractice attorney is required to provide evidence that supports the claim that a medical provider or facility’s negligence caused damages to their client. Examples of such documentation include but are not limited to:
– Additional medical treatment
– Medical bills
– Lost wages
It is important to note that not all damages are physical. Medical malpractice can leave victims with severe emotional trauma. This is taken into consideration when evaluating a potential medical malpractice case. As attorneys highly skilled in medical malpractice law in Albuquerque, the team at Romero Law knows how to sort the facts and information needed to prove your case. We will review your circumstances and all supporting evidence in a case before making a recommendation on how to proceed.
Medical malpractice is a highly-specialized concentration of legal practice. Patients who believe they are victims of medical malpractice should not place the success of their cases into the hands of lawyers who are not experts in this area. Inexperienced lawyers may underestimate the difficulty of proving damages, while others may not provide the same level of services to their clients that an attorney well-versed in medical malpractice offers. Do not try to handle your case on your own. It is the worst mistake patients make when it comes to medical malpractice.
Here are four reasons why it is ideal to hire a medical malpractice lawyer familiar with this concentration of law.
It is important to remember that the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in New Mexico is three years from the date of the alleged malpractice incident. Patients who believe they are victims of medical malpractice or negligence should consult with an attorney right away to preserve their rights to litigation.
There are a lot of attorneys available from which to choose. In the greater Albuquerque area alone, more than 70 firms are claiming they can represent clients in medical malpractice cases. At Romero Law, we do not make empty promises to prospective clients. We offer the following qualities that any reputable medical malpractice attorney should possess:
Medical malpractice cases in Albuquerque are challenging to litigate. The team at Romero Law will do everything in its power to help patients injured by medical malpractice and medical negligence to receive fair compensation for their injuries. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to assess your case.
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