The United States currently has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world. Approximately 4 million women give birth in the country every year. Of these women, 50,000 will endure serious or life-threatening complications related to their pregnancy.
In July, a New Mexico psychiatrist was arrested on six counts of criminal sexual penetration as well as five counts of criminal sexual conduct. The sexual abuse occurred during "visits to his office during office hours that were part of supposed treatment," according to a Farmington police detective. The doctor was denied bond and is awaiting trial.
Hurricane Irma slammed into South Florida on Sept. 14. The next day, eight residents of the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills died. The facility did not seek evacuation even though the air conditioning was knocked out by the storm, and some elderly and disabled people are medically sensitive to heat.
New Mexico patients may be interested to learn that some harmful errors in drug prescribing occur because of 10-fold dosage mistakes. For example, a trailing zero, such as 1.0 mg, might be misread as 10 mg. Similarly, the lack of a leading zero could lead to confusion between .5 mg and 5 mg.
New Mexico patients who are concerned about whether their illnesses have been properly treated may be interested to learn of a case in which a hospital was required to pay $29 million to a patient because of a failure to diagnose her condition. The patient, who has Wilson's disease, is now suffering from significant complications because of a delayed diagnosis. According to the jury, the rare condition the woman had may have been treated with little difficulty if the hospital had given a diagnosis and treatment in a more timely fashion.
Someone designated as allergic to penicillin in New Mexico might not really have the allergy. It's important to know that being misdiagnosed with this allergy could alter someone's health care for a lifetime. Less effective and more expensive alternative drugs might be necessary when patients have penicillin allergies.
New Mexico patients may be interested to learn that situations where a treatment or procedure is administered to the wrong patient still occur in all stages of diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, health care providers may document a patient's information in the wrong medical record or fail to verify that they have the right patient before making a diagnosis or administering a treatment. These errors can result in serious medical consequences or even death.
Everyone who goes through a medical procedure of any kind hopes that it goes well. However, there are always risks. There is always the possibility of a bad outcome
Patients in New Mexico and throughout the country are entitled to have all the information necessary to make informed decisions about their medical treatment. Medical professionals are required to discuss alternate treatment options as well as the risks and possible prognosis after going through with a specific course of action. This information must be presented in a manner that is both detailed and easy to understand.