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Medical malpractice: Doctors' versus patients' responsibilities

When you visit a New Mexico doctor, it may be to seek a simple, annual check-up. Then again, you might have a particular health issue causing you concern that you would like your doctor to examine. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury or other serious problem, you will undoubtedly stay closely connected to an entire team of medical professionals who will provide support and care as needed for you to achieve as high quality of life as possible under the circumstances.

What happens if your doctor fails to properly diagnose your condition or issues a diagnosis but then provides substandard treatment and care? Sadly, for many New Mexico patients, as well as thousands in other states, the answer to that question is often "injury" or "fatality." You should never have to suffer because a doctor fails in a fiduciary duty to help keep you safe and maintain good health given your particular condition.

You must keep your doctor informed

Your doctor isn't the only one responsible for your health. You must also fulfill certain obligations to help him or her provide high quality care according to accepted safety standards. If your doctor fails in his or her obligations, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice case in court. However, if your doctor's error occurred because you did not fulfill your own obligations, the situation may be more complex.

For instance, if you're taking medication, it is up to you to inform your doctor, especially if he or she plans to prescribe a particular drug to treat a specific condition. Perhaps another physician prescribed the medicine you are currently taking. You must fully disclose any and all drugs so your doctor can make well-informed decisions. Some drugs have deadly interactions; if your doctor is unaware, the results could be disastrous.

Your doctor must keep you informed as well

You have a right to know all there is to know regarding potential risks associated with a particular procedure or medication. If you ask your doctor questions about your health, he or she is obligated to provide answers according to the information he or she has available regarding the situation. Perhaps your doctor has recommended surgery to treat a certain condition but does not tell you that you are at risk for certain injuries if you have the operation.

If you suffer injury and later learn that you had other options or could have avoided injury by not having the surgery, your doctor may be legally liable for not fulfilling a duty to provide pre-surgery information so that you can be proactive in your own health care plan.

Medical malpractice devastates lives

A New Mexico medical patient has a right to reasonably expect his or her doctor to adhere to all protocol and safety regulations when seeking medical examination or treatment. If your doctor disregards symptoms you have brought to his or her attention, or otherwise is negligent toward your care, you are at risk for serious injury.

If such injury occurs, you may be completely unprepared to meet the expenses associated with the situation. Why should you have to pay medical bills or try to replace lost wages from time off work if a doctor's negligence caused your injury? Many recovering medical malpractice victims seek restitution by filing personal injury claims in civil court.

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Law Offices of Salazar, Sullivan & Jasionowski

100 Gold Avenue SW, Suite 201
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3476

Toll Free: 888-819-2544
Phone: 505-349-4003
Fax: 505-314-1419
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888-819-2544
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