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Malpractice vs. Negligence

Published on Oct 1, 2018 at 11:06 pm in Medical Malpractice.


When we delve deeper into the world of medical malpractice, there is a significant difference in whether a case is actually medical malpractice or medical negligence. Malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to follow through with their services based on the standards set out by a governing entity. Negligence is more so an act of carelessness or an intentional oversight.

Recently, we have seen two major acts of negligence in New Mexico. The first is a horrific story of a woman who died during a septic abortion. A septic abortion is when there is an infection in the placenta and fetus, with risk of spreading to the uterus. The woman receiving the septic abortion had reported a high fever and troubled breathing two days after the abortion process began. The abortion was to take place gradually as she was 24 weeks pregnant and the child had to be aborted as a stillborn. When she returned to the care center with high temperatures and difficulty breathing, apparently ten hours passed before an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital, where she was then proclaimed dead.

The negligence that occurred is in line with the Unfair Trade Practices Act – which is any deception, fraud or injury caused by a business toward a consumer. In this case, healthcare provider and patient. According to reports, the Southwestern Women’s Options (SWO), the center where the patient underwent her abortion, insisted that the patient not seek, contact or consultation with any providers outside of the SWO clinic. Had she sought an alternative option to SWO, she may still be alive. There have even been reports of University of New Mexico physicians trying to conspire to cover up the septic abortion death as ‘natural’. The patient initially visited the University of New Mexico for the abortion, where she was denied and referred to SWO. Had she received proper guidance, and not been lead to believe she was not allowed to contact outside care providers, her health may have been salvageable.

Another case in New Mexico involves a psychiatrist who was prescribing controlled substance medications to his patients in a manner that put them in harm’s way. This is considered to be negligence as he was knowingly prescribing both children and adults with substances, not only with histories of misuse, but also billing Medicaid in the process under his name. Over a five year period, between 2013 and 2018, thirty of his patients died, and between 2015 and 2017, six patients died of overdose. This astronomical number of deaths under a medical professional is not to be taken lightly. A search warrant served by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Division is investigating the deaths thoroughly.

As we can see, medical malpractice and negligence are not always, simply mistakes that occur behind closed doors. Some professionals are careless with their patients lives and there should be consequences for doing so. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical negligence, do not wait to seek justice. We will fight by your side so that you and your family can be rewarded for the losses and turmoil placed upon you. If you have questions about your case, do not hesitate to call our offices today to speak with an attorney.

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