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November 2013 Archives

Suit targets hospital for failure to diagnose tuberculosis

Hospitals in New Mexico and elsewhere are supposed to be places for sick people to get well. But what happens when a sick person is not diagnosed and the hospital exposes others to his or her potentially fatal illness? Such an issue is at the center of a class-action lawsuit that has been filed against a hospital in another state. The plaintiffs claim that the hospital's failure to diagnose a patient with tuberculosis put staff, volunteers, patients and visitors at risk.

Couple awarded $8.3 million in VA hospital negligence case

Many enlisted and veteran military members rely on VA medical centers to provide a high quality of medical care. However, as New Mexico readers may have heard on the news, the VA has had many problems in recent years providing the level of care that these veterans need. In a recent medical malpractice case in another state, a veteran and his wife were awarded $8.3 million due to VA hospital negligence that resulted in permanent brain damage and a leg amputation.

Despite outcry by doctors, medical malpractice costs decreasing

New Mexico residents who have followed the debate about health care in the U.S. can be forgiven for thinking that costs for medical malpractice insurance for physicians is extravagantly expensive. There have been many reports of doctors who claim that if rates keep going up, they could be put out of business. But does this really represent reality?

Prison doctor sued by 3 dozen New Mexico inmates

On our Albuquerque medical malpractice blog, we have described several different kinds of doctor errors and negligent physicians that people in our area might come across. One that we haven't devoted a great deal of time to, however, is the welfare of prisoners when it comes to medical care. It goes without saying that their voices are perhaps more difficult to hear when it comes to reporting incidents of medical malpractice.

Woman says doctor sprayed her with drain-cleaning chemical

As we have described on our blog, doctors in New Mexico can make all kinds of mistakes while carrying out their duties that can have negative effects on their patients. Whether it's operating on the wrong body part, misinterpreting medical records or prescribing the incorrect medication, any number of things can go wrong when physicians and patients interact. 

Lack of oxygen to the brain during surgery can be life-altering

Despite the advances that have been made in surgical technology and procedures, errors still can happen. Among the most dire of these are mistakes that lead to brain damage in a patient. In many cases, these are preventable errors, caused when medical staff don't pay attention to conditions as they develop during surgery.

Are tired surgeons more likely to make errors in the OR?

We spend a lot of time on our New Mexico medical malpractice blog discussing the mistakes surgeons make and how they can be prevented. We have seen studies in the past that have found that doctors who are tired or distracted make more surgical errors in the operating room than doctors who are well-rested and focused. However, a new study out of Canada has found that surgeons who performed emergency gallbladder procedures after working the night before did not have a higher rate of complications than did their well-rested colleagues.

Family baffled at items left behind after loved one's surgery

For many Albuquerque residents, knowing that a loved one has suffered some kind of surgical complication is often difficult to ascertain. Even surgeries that are deemed to be successful can leave patients looking overwhelmed, at least to the untrained eye. However, when a surgeon reappears at a patient's bedside to remove an object that was left behind during the operation, it is plain to everyone that something has gone wrong.

Internal reporting of doctor errors not easy for several reasons

Earlier this week on our blog, we discussed how it can be difficult for physicians to report mistakes made by their colleagues. This can be dangerous on multiple levels. Patients might not receive the care they deserve, and might have the physician mistake unattended; doctors who see a mistake and neglect to report it could feel emotionally conflicted, and even distracted, by their inaction.

Physicians need encouragement to report colleagues' errors

We have written frequently on our blog about how doctors are often to blame for missing diagnoses, prescribing incorrect medicines or dosages, or otherwise making critical mistakes that lead to patient injury or even death. While it is easy to see these people as the villains, they are people too. When it comes to reporting mistakes that a colleague has made, doctors often take the very human route of not wanting to offend people -- and thus turning a blind eye toward a mistake they know has been made.