New Mexico residents have the right to trust in the care of their doctors and for veterans of the U.S. military living in New Mexico, the same rights exist. Serving in the armed forces is a huge commitment to the nation and to a career and the ability to receive proper medical care as a veteran is something that should not be questioned.

A recent news report indicates, however, that veterans are just as vulnerable to doctor errors as their civilian counterparts. Statistics in the article show a 28 percent increase in payouts of medical malpractice lawsuits from 2011 to 2012 on behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 400 payouts totaling $91.7 million were to be paid in 2012 as a result of both judgments and settlements. That is the highest amount in 12 years.