In the medical field, doctors have a duty to their patients which is a legal obligation. If a doctor fails to fulfill this obligation they are opening themselves up to claims of negligence and medical malpractice. It is important to know what constitutes medical malpractice and negligence in case you have been wronged by a doctor. Duty is the legal obligation one person owes to another person. Whether or not a doctor, hospital, or other medical professional owes a duty is for the court to determine.
In New Mexico, whether a duty is owed to a patient is determined by public policy. For most medical malpractice cases, there is no question of duty because any doctor or other healthcare professional treating the patient owes a duty to the patient. (“It is well established that ‘a doctor owes a general duty to provide competent care in treating a patient’s medical condition.’”).
The jury is instructed: In [treating] [operating upon] [making a diagnosis of] [caring for] a patient, (name of defendant) is under the duty to possess and apply the knowledge and to use the skill and care ordinarily used by reasonably well-qualified [doctors] (other health care provider)] practicing under similar circumstances, giving due consideration fails to do so is negligent. For a specialist, there is a higher duty owed to the patient from the doctor: (name of defendant), who held [himself] [herself] out as a specialist in (area of specialty), having undertaken to [treat] [operate on] [make diagnosis of] [care for] a patient in this specialized field, is under the duty to possess and apply the knowledge and to use the skill and care ordinarily used by reasonably well-qualified specialists practicing under similar circumstances, giving due consideration to the locality involved. A doctor who fails to do so is negligent. [The degree of knowledge, skill, and care required of a specialist is usually higher than that required of a non-specialist, but it is never lower. Specialists are responsible for a certain base of knowledge in common with general practitioners, as well as additional knowledge in the field of their specialty.]
Now that you know a little bit more about doctors duty to their patients you can make an informed decision on whether not you need to take action against a doctor that may have failed their duty to you as a patient. This is very common and is not your fault if a doctor has failed to do their job. Please consider the details of your situation and speak to a qualified attorney to hold the doctor accountable.
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