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New Mexico doctor exonerated in malpractice case

A medical error, such as a failure to diagnose or a mistake with medication, may result in a malpractice claim. Cases involving doctor negligence in New Mexico may be decided by the state medical board. The following case involves the controversial issue of late-term abortion.

An Albuquerque physician was exonerated of gross negligence by the New Mexico Medical Board on Feb. 7. The patient in the case was a 26-year-old woman whose uterus ruptured during a late-term abortion in May 2011. She had wanted the abortion because the fetus was severely brain-damaged.

The procedure involved stopping the heart of the fetus with an injection and then inducing labor with additional drugs during the next three to four days. A transcript shows that the rupture was repaired and the patient was warned of the risks, although the board prosecutor claimed the physician did not follow proper standards of care.

The central issue in the case was whether the state medical board should hold an abortion provider to the same standards of care as those that apply to a live birth. The board prosecutor had argued that the procedure should have been performed in a hospital instead of a clinic.

Those considering medical malpractice claims in New Mexico should be aware that the plaintiff is required to prove several important elements in order to establish a medical malpractice claim. Malpractice claims are also subject to the three year statute of limitations requirement in New Mexico. If you feel that you have a potential claim, please seek out legal advice to explore your options further.

Source: MSN News, "NM board exonerates doctor in abortion case," Jeri Clausing, Feb. 7, 2013

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