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Doctor charged with failure to treat allegedly fatal bedsore

When Albuquerque doctors graduate from medical school and get their licenses, they take an oath to practice medicine ethically and honestly. Sometimes, though, doctors don't perform their jobs according to set medical standards. This can lead to medical malpractice issues like failure to diagnose and negligence charges.

Although this case didn't take place in New Mexico, Albuquerque readers may be interested in the case of an independent physician who is being sued by the family members of a patient who died under his care. The lawsuit contends the doctor conducted "chart rounds" instead of assessing the patient in person. Charts rounds are reports written based on the observations of staff nurses. The suit alleges that as a result, the 67-year-old woman placed under his care died of an infected bed sore on her back that had grown to the size of a $20 bill.

The doctor denies these allegations. The patient's children also sued the nursing home, Heartland of San Antonio, where the woman was being treated. The nursing home and the deceased's children settled before the trial began.

The attorney defending the doctor told the jury that the woman's health was already poor. The doctor that signed the death certificate listed the bed sore as a factor that contributed to her untimely death. However, the primary cause of death was listed as respiratory failure, kidney disease, and her heart condition.

Failure to diagnose and treat a medical condition can lead to serious consequences including long-term disability and death. Those dealing with medical complications related to the spread of disease, worsened condition, or delayed treatment due to the actions of a negligent physician should explore their rights under New Mexico law.

Source: MySanAntonio.com, "Doctor blamed for ignoring bedsore at malpractice trial," Craig Kapitan, Oct. 17, 2012

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