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New Mexico medical malpractice patient loses suit against doctor

In late March, the New Mexico Supreme Court passed down a ruling on a medical malpractice case that one of the state's residents had attempted to file against a surgeon at Lubbock's Texas Tech Hospital.

It wasn't a ruling as to how much, if anything, the patient should receive in compensation for the botched surgery she alleged to have received. Instead, it had to do with whether New Mexico should have upheld Texas state law to dismiss the patient's claim on grounds that the lawsuit was filed against the wrong party.

The woman's lawsuit listed the surgeon as the defendant as opposed to the hospital at which he worked, something that would, under normal circumstances, result in a dismissal of a medical malpractice case in Texas.

Government facilities, including hospitals, in Texas are governed by what's referred to as sovereign immunity. As a result, expenses associated with paying on lawsuits filed are capped as a cost-saving measure.

Ultimately a majority comprising of four justices of New Mexico's Supreme Court passed down a ruling that, despite the patient's residence in New Mexico, they believed the disbursement rules set by the state of Texas should be followed in this case. Their decision meant that recovering damages associated with the patient's own physical injuries, pain, medical bills, and loss of companionship was extinguished.

The plaintiff in this case, much like other New Mexico residents, sought medical treatment over the border in Texas due to the prevalence of research hospitals and trauma facilities. It's important though, that when patients seek out treatment at these facilities that they understand measures in place that restrict the amount of damages they can recover in doctor error cases such as this one.

In cases like these, by having a skilled Los Lunas medical malpractice attorney on your side, you stand a higher potential of maximizing the recovery of damages in your case.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, "Medical malpractice suit pits NM against Texas," Joel Jacobsen, May 01, 2017

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