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What You Should Know About Medical Malpractice in Mexico

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Stethoscope and medical prescription
Credit: Sheff | Shutterstock

You may never have a problem with medical malpractice in Mexico, but it is important to know what your rights are just in case you have a future problem.

In Mexico, everyone in the medical profession owes what the law refers to as a duty of care. The duty of care essentially states that if a person is providing medical treatment, then they have a legal obligation to not cause reasonably foreseeable harm to the person receiving the treatment. If such foreseeable harm is caused, then the person who provided the medical treatment may be liable due to negligence in medical malpractice.

Here are a few things you should know about medical malpractice in Mexico:

Types of Medical Negligence

Medical negligence can be said to occur whenever a healthcare worker provides treatment that is below the applicable reasonable standard. For instance:

•  If a healthcare worker carried out treatment in a manner that caused you        or a member of your family immediate or later onset of injury, harm, or even death.
•  If a healthcare professional takes the wrong action, or makes an incorrect diagnosis.
•  Inaction or significant delays by a doctor in a situation where a reasonable doctor would have provided treatment, and as a result of that delay or inaction, harm or injury resulted.
•  Prescribing the wrong or inappropriate medication, causing injury or harm.
•  Errors arising through negligent undertaking of surgical procedures or surgery.

Damages for the Negligence

In any of the above described scenarios (and any other examples that may exist), the healthcare worker is liable for his or her negligence. If injury or harm results from that negligence, then you are entitled to a sum of damages. This is a sum of money that the healthcare worker owes you to compensate you for any bodily injury and to cover the costs you incurred as a result of their medical negligence.

It is important to note that the harm has to be caused by the negligence. If you undertake a surgical procedure and, during recovery, you fall and damage your scar tissue, it is the fall that caused the harm and not any medical negligence on the part of the surgeon. However, if after surgery you are engaging in an ordinary daily routine and find that your scar tissue opens and becomes infected causing you further harm, then this may be seen as negligence if the surgeon had failed to appropriately and professionally seal the wound after surgery. The negligent doctor would be asked to compensate you for your injury and provide damages to cover any costs you incur as a result of the infected wound. However, medical malpractice is handled differently outside the U.S. For instance, damages often have caps, many cases are determined by a judge instead of a jury and some countries don’t take cases to court at all, but instead they go to the medical review board.

Who May Be Liable

Medical negligence is not necessarily limited to doctors. It can cover many people in the healthcare profession. This includes:

•    Surgeons
•    Other healthcare specialists, such as obstetricians
•    Nurses and other hospital staff
•    Psychiatrists
•    Midwives
•    Physiotherapists
•    Dentists
•    Pharmacists.

People in these professions are trusted with the health of others because they possess the trained expertise to care for them. Patients rely on people in these professions to be able to carry out their work professionally, and to a reasonable standard that does not cause injury. The failure to meet that standard, and injuries sustained as a result, is the reason why medical negligence is covered in law.

Duty of Care

If injury or harm is caused, it is not automatically assumed that the healthcare professional was negligent and therefore liable for medical negligence. Instead, the prognosis, diagnosis, treatment, or procedure will be considered by other medical experts to see if it is consistent with accepted medical practice. If it is, then the professional is most likely to be found to have acted within their duty of care. It is only when the diagnosis, treatment, or procedure was below standards that apply to that healthcare worker that they may be seen to have breached a duty of care.

Make sure to document every visit to your physician and all procedures and prescriptions given to you as Mexico’s civil law system is based in documents rather than testimonials.

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