Many New Mexico patients are seriously injured or die each year because of medical malpractice in the hospital or in another health care setting. A national trend among doctors is now to review data gathered from previous medical malpractice cases. The doctors and hospitals then use that information to identify areas in which they need to improve in order to prevent medical errors from happening.

It has been estimated that 251,000 people died in the U.S. in 2013 alone from medical negligence. This would make medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the country if true. In order to combat the prevalence of the problem, the Wall Street Journal has reported that The Doctors Company has released data from more than 10,000 medical malpractice lawsuits to health care providers across the nation.

The Doctors Company is a leading provider of medical malpractice insurance. Some hospitals have already used the information they have learned from the data to make changes in how they approach the treatment of different types of patients. For example, Scripps Mercy, a hospital in San Diego, used the data to change the manner in which stingray wounds are treated in the emergency room. Previously, nurses normally would clean the wounds and suture them. Now, doctors are required to thoroughly examine the wounds to identify and remove any foreign material that might be present before the stitches are applied.

There are many different types of physician errors that can happen. Some lead to a worsened medical condition while others have even more serious consequences. An attorney representing a harmed patient will review hospital records and obtain the opinions of one or more medical experts in order to determine whether an error rose to the level of malpractice.