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Albuquerque Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Did you suffer harm from a procedure you didn't even consent to?

In an emergency, you expect the medical personnel at a New Mexico hospital to do whatever it takes to save your life regardless of whether you have the chance to consent to any treatment deemed necessary. Under normal circumstances, however, you would more than likely want the chance to consent to any treatment recommended.

You deserve to make the choice, even if it's against your doctor's advice. For instance, if you choose not to fill a prescription for a flu medication and end up letting the illness run its course instead, that is your choice. Your life may not be at risk in this situation, but what about when you are hospitalized or the situation is direr? What if your doctor performs a procedure or carries out a course of treatment without your consent and you suffer harm because of it?

Surgical errors can usually be prevented

Knowing that you have to have surgery is a frightening experience. You have to wonder about the possible impacts that the surgery is going to have on your life. Worrying about the pain after the procedure and the recovery is also normal. What you might not want to think about is how surgical errors might impact your life.

It is the duty of the doctors and everyone in the operating room to keep you safe while you are being worked on. You won't be able to speak up for yourself during this process, so you have to ensure that you are in good hands.

Surgery centers are risky for many patients

Some people who have surgery won't ever be admitted into a hospital to have the procedure. This is because many of them will go to surgery centers that are freestanding clinics instead of the hospital. While these centers do serve an important purpose, they aren't without risk to the patients.

One of the primary issues with surgery centers is that they don't have the life-saving equipment that a hospital has. In many areas, the centers have to have a partnership with a hospital so that a patient who has an emergency at the clinic can be cared for at a local hospital. Even this isn't an ideal situation because of the response time when you call 911 and the time it takes to get the patient over to the hospital.

Medication administration must be handled safely

There isn't any reason why patients should think that they have to do a nurse's or doctor's job. However, when it comes to medication administration, patients can do their part to make sure they are getting their correct dosages.

You can check the way the medication looks, ask questions about why you are getting the medications you are and have a nurse or doctor read out the dosage instructions to you. It might seem excessive to you that you have to do this, but your life is worth it.

Medication errors are preventable with proper protocol

Patients who are receiving any type of medication are at risk of errors that can harm them. There must be protocols in place that help prevent these from occurring. This is often a difficult task because of the many steps that it takes to get patients medications, especially in a hospital setting.

There are some common ways that these facilities can help to keep patients safe from medication errors. Using more than one method can boost the effectiveness of the strategy. Here are a few common protocols that are used:

  • Comprehensive documentation is important. Everything that has to do with prescribing, filling and administering medication should be put into the patient's record.
  • Repeat the prescription to the person who prescribed it. You should also read the order aloud when you are doing anything with the medications.
  • Use decimal points with a preceding number, even a 0, to help keep the dosage straight. This can help differentiate dosage errors. For example. 0.50mg is much easier to read than .50mg.
  • Medications must be reconciled. When the pharmacy delivers a medication, it should be checked against the prescription. It will be checked again when it is administered.
  • Name alerts can help to prevent name mix ups. Ensuring that the patient is the one for whom it was prescribed is one of the five rights of medication administration. For example, Mr. Herbert shouldn't get medications for Mr. Hebert. The similar names might lead to confusion.
  • The five rights of medication administration must be followed. It must be timed correctly, given via the correct method, have the correct dosage, be the correct medication, and be given to the intended patient.

Impacts to your memory can come after a brain injury

A brain injury of any sort is tragic, not only because of the injury itself but also because of the way that it can impact you. Even minor injuries can lead to long-lasting effects on your mental capabilities. This can include altering your memory.

When a brain injury affects your short-term and long-term memory, you might be unable to continue doing the things that you did before the accident. This can make it difficult to do your job, to have a social life and to care for your family. You might find that you are becoming more and more frustrated as time progresses because you are unable to remember things.

Were you made aware of a surgical error?

In order to "go under the knife," you have to have a certain degree of trust in the surgeon who will be cutting into your body. You trust that your life is in good hands, and that the surgeon will keep your best interests in mind during the operation.

You understand that every procedure comes with certain risks, but you trust that your surgeon isn't one of them. You sign the paperwork, go through all of the preoperative steps and then put your health, well-being and life into the hands of your surgeon with the confidence that you come out of the surgery without complications and on the road to recovery.

A guide to traumatic brain injury risk awareness

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can affect anybody who suffers a head injury at any time -- but some people are definitely more at risk than others of suffering one of those injuries.

To minimize your risk, understand where you can make changes that will help you avoid becoming the next victim of a traumatic brain injury:

A multifaceted approach is necessary in hospital negligence cases

Hospital negligence is never acceptable. There isn't any good reason why a person who seeks care in the hospital should be harmed due to factors like understaffing. When patients are harmed in these cases, those patients have a legal avenue to explore.

Making a case for hospital negligence isn't always easy, but it usually isn't impossible. When we work with you on a case, we look into the specific points of your case so that we can discern what points we need to focus on. From there, we can look into matters like broken protocol or substandard care. All of this will come together to make the case for you.

Fall prevention has to be a priority in hospitals

Patients in hospitals sometimes have a risk of falling. There are many reasons why this might happen. Medical conditions, medications and similar factors can all mean that a person is unsteady on their feet. So how do hospitals handle people with an increased risk of falling?

One of the primary things that must be done is that the person must be clearly identified as a fall risk. Making notations in the chart and putting a bracelet on the person lets hospital employees know about the problem before something tragic happens.