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Lawsuit filed over fatal failure to diagnose

New Mexico residents know that doctors are as human as anyone else, and they make mistakes, just like everyone else. However, when a doctor errs, the consequences can be severe, causing serious injury or even death. One family has hired legal counsel and is currently suing three doctors over what the family says was medical malpractice that led to the wrongful death of their loved one.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 14, claims the wrongful death of a 65-year-old man following a bone marrow biopsy a year ago. The man's son contends that the procedure was botched, causing an abdominal hemorrhage less than two weeks after the man was released from the hospital.

Attorneys for the deceased man's family filed suit against three doctors, the town where the death occurred and the hospital where the procedure took place. The lawsuit contends that the procedure caused the man to suffer hypovolemic shock, which is severe blood and fluid loss.

Public documents indicate that while the man was being treated for an arm injury on July 30, 2011, he was diagnosed with an elevated number of blood platelets. During a follow-up appointment on Aug. 11, 2011, a doctor at the hospital broke a bone in the man's pelvis while attempting a biopsy. This is said to have caused undiagnosed artery damage, which led to abdominal bleeding, causing the man to faint shortly thereafter in the parking lot of the hospital.

The man was brought into the hospital's emergency room, where he received blood transfusions. He went into cardiopulmonary arrest, but was resuscitated. He then was transferred to another medical center later that day, and he passed away that evening.

Families in New Mexico who believe a loved one died due to medical malpractice should know that there are laws in place to protect them. A doctor's failure to diagnose is one reason people file civil claims after the death of a family member.

Source: Watertown Daily Times, "Massena man files medical malpractice lawsuit over father's 2011 death," Darren Ankrom, Aug. 17, 2012

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