Undergoing major surgery is often a stressful experience. However, as patients, we trust that our doctors have the skills necessary to perform a successful operation. Yet, in light of recent news, it may be harder for New Mexico residents to trust their surgeons.
As we reported on this blog a couple weeks ago, a critical medical malpractice case was recently settled in New Mexico. According to the case files, a doctor falsified his credentials and conducted dozens of back surgeries that he was not qualified to perform. In the process, numerous operations were botched. This has left many wondering what hospitals will be done to verify that doctors are actually qualified to do their jobs.
In response to public concerns, New Mexico's Legislative Health and Human Services Committee took up the issue of working to make sure that doctors have the proper credentials to perform services they provide. Currently, it's up to individual hospitals to validate doctors' credentials, which obviously proved disastrous. This has led many to call for increased government oversight in the credentialing process.
Meanwhile, other members of the committee are hesitant to increase regulation, because it may not be properly applied by the legislature or some doctors may resist increased oversight. Whatever the case, public officials realize that it's important to protect patients from harm and restore confidence in the state's health care system.
The reality is that this particular hospital proved to be negligent by failing to put their employee through a rigorous screening process. Had they properly verified the physician's skills, then they could have prevented so much pain and anxiety.
Patients not only have a right to expect high-quality care from their doctors, but that the institutions have done the footwork to hire skilled medical providers. Expecting that a doctor has the ability to safely provide treatment they prescribe is not asking too much.
- The Daily Times, "NM health care committee wrestles with issues," Chuck Slothower, Aug. 13, 2012
- Our firm has handled a wide-variety of medical malpractice. If you have questions about holding health institutions liable for providing high-quality care, see our New Mexico hospital negligence page for some more insight.