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Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

How wrongful death claims work in New Mexico

When someone dies prematurely due to another person's deliberate actions or negligence, that death is said to be "wrongful." In some cases, criminal authorities may get involved -- but when the death was an accident, the victim's survivors usually have to seek a measure of justice in civil court.

That's what a wrongful death claim is all about.

University of New Mexico Hospital is facing legal action

You count on hospitals to provide you with the optimal care for your condition. Most patients know that they won't get perfect care in the emergency room; however, they still expect care that aligns with or exceeds the established standard of care. A patient who is admitted to the hospital or gets outpatient care expects the same thing. Unfortunately, some patients don't get that type of care.

Recently, testimony against the University of New Mexico Hospital notes that there was massive negligence in the facility's pediatric oncology program. The proposed class-action lawsuit notes that there were 243 patients who had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were give outdated and diluted drugs. This increased their risk of having a relapse, and of dying due to the condition.

The most common pharmacy errors you may see

Nobody's perfect, right? That's not a bad thought -- unless you're talking about someone whose mistakes could literally mean life or death for another human being. Pharmacists have to exercise considerable care during their daily work because a single mistake can be devasting.

Unfortunately, pharmacists have so much reason to fear the consequences of a mistake that they may try to hide their errors -- even when someone gets hurt. As a patient or the caretaker of a patient, it's always wise to be on the watch for these common pharmacy errors:

  1. Mistaking a teaspoon for a tablespoon and inadvertantly tripling the dosage on a medication's directions
  2. Under-dosing, or accidentally directing a patient to take too little of a certain drug -- which can be just as dangerous for patients with certain conditions, like high blood pressure, as an overdose
  3. Dispensing a fast-acting drug instead of a slow-release drug, such as fast-acting insulin, which can cause dangerous and unexpected reactions in some people
  4. Dispensing a "like-name" drug instead of the intended prescription, such as giving a patient the painkiller codeine instead of the steroid lodine
  5. Dispensing a "look-alike" drug, which can happen with generics that tend to be all-white and easily confused for other all-white pills of the same general size and shape
  6. Calculation errors when a drug is compounded to a specific formula or has to be pre-mixed by the pharmacist before dispensing
  7. Excessive dosages, where the doctor prescribes too much but the pharmacist should have recognized the error
  8. Dispensing a medication to a patient with a known allergic reaction to some component in that drug
  9. Dispensing medication that, in combo with other medications the patient is using, turns lethal.

Even small errors can lead to great patient harm

Despite the ample evidence that shows doctors make more errors when they are fatigued, many still have to work hours that would force someone in a different profession to quit. This atrocity is one that can lead to harm to patients who are counting on their doctors to provide suitable care to them.

When a doctor makes an error, the patient is left to try to pick up the pieces. This is a terrible situation because it is preventable. Doctors must ensure that they are only doing what is best for the patient. They can't try to rush through visits with patients just so they can see as many people as possible. Instead, they must take the time necessary to determine what's going on with the patient and find suitable treatment options.

Doctors may miss warning signs of these medical conditions

Consistent pain and other problems could indicate that you may have a medical issue that may require medication or some type of treatment. When you think something is wrong, you probably call your New Mexico doctor and make an appointment to see him or her as soon as possible. When you do this, you trust that you will get the right diagnosis and the specific type of treatment you need.

Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Doctors sometimes make mistakes, and they may miss certain signs that indicate that you have a specific illness or medical condition. Misdiagnosis can lead to a progression of your illness, which can lead to long-term harm, additional pain and prolonged suffering. In some cases, misdiagnosis is medical malpractice, which could be grounds for a civil claim.

Causes of cerebral palsy are sometimes preventable

Finding out that your baby has a chronic health condition isn't easy for any parent. One diagnosis that is especially troubling for some is cerebral palsy, which is the result of abnormal brain development in the areas that control the muscles. This damage will usually occur within a month of birth, which includes during and before birth. It is possible that it will occur during the first year or later in some cases.

Nearly all cases of cerebral palsy are congenital. There are many different causes of this type, some of which are preventable and others that aren't. Women who are expecting a baby should be aware of these so that they can try to minimize the factors that can be controlled.

Don't ignore your emotions after you lose a loved one

The sudden loss of a loved one is a tragic situation. When you are faced with this, there isn't any telling exactly how you will deal with it. You have to be sure that you are taking care of yourself because you might be shocked at the wide range of emotions you feel. You shouldn't ignore those feelings because doing so can consume you. Instead, it is best if you take the time to address them and try to cope with them, so you can move forward with life.

You might not experience all of these emotions right away when you lose your loved one. Instead, it might take a few days for them to start. This is because you might feel shock at first. It may seem as though the person isn't really gone, which can make it hard for the grieving to start.

Hypoxemia: Low blood oxygen levels can have damaging impacts

Some medical conditions impact how much oxygen is in the blood. For example, a baby who is in distress during labor or delivery might not get sufficient blood to the brain. A lack of oxygen in the blood is known as hypoxemia. Individuals who have this condition can suffer damage to various organs in the body, including the brain, heart, lungs, limbs, and other internal organs.

When a patient shows up at the hospital or a doctor's office with potential hypoxemia, getting them oxygen is critical. The longer the body goes without it, the worse the damage can be. Typically, a person's arterial oxygen is 75 to 100 millimeters of mercury, and individuals with good oxygen will have a pulse oximeter reading of 95 to 100%. A person who has an arterial oxygen of less than 60 mm Hg or a pulse ox of 90% or less has low readings and needs supplemental support.

Risk factors for patient harm in emergency rooms

Emergency room care depends largely on the doctors who work in the department. The problem is that they don't always provide the care that the patient needs to avoid suffering more harm. There are several reasons for this, but each of these is manageable if the hospital puts proper protocols in place to keep their patients safe.

The number of hours these doctors work is one of the primary hazards to patients. As a doctor works through the hours on long shifts, they become more fatigued. This can lead to errors in judgment, which can negatively impact patient care.

Did your loved one experience abuse in his or her nursing home?

When you make the decision to place a loved one in a New Mexico nursing facility, you trusted that the home would provide quality care and the right type of support. Maybe you made your choice based on the recommendation of a friend or you did months of research, but either way, you felt confident you'd found the right place.

It can be devastating to learn that your loved one experienced harm in his or her nursing home. Nursing home abuse in the form of negligent care is a serious problem. If you suspect that your loved one experienced harmful treatment or you have evidence of wrongdoing, you have the right to pursue justice on his or her behalf. With the right help, it is possible to hold liable parties accountable and pursue appropriate compensation for your family member.

Contact Salazar, Sullivan & Jasionowski today to learn more about how we can help you.

Call our firm at 505-349-4003 or toll free at 888-819-2544.

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Albuquerque, NM 87102-3476

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