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  Tim Chelpaty Inc.                                                                                                 Hablamos Español                                                                                                                                                                                                CALL CHELPATY LAW OFFICE                                                                                                                 IF YOU HAVE A  MEDICAL                                                                                                                          MALPRACTICE CLAIM                                                                                    FREE                         INITIAL CONSULTATION     AND EVALUATION                                                                                                                       (575) 525-3123  ____________________________________________________________________________________                                                 SERVING SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO *Alamogordo         *Deming         *Las Cruces         *Ruidoso         *Silver City        *Tularosa  




Does the nursing home address falls?


Inevitably, falls normally occur at nursing homes because of the physical conditions of the residents.  More importantly, it’s what happens after the fall that really matters. 


Did the staff check for injuries?


Did the staff help the resident up from the floor safely?  Was the resident checked for injuries that were not apparent the first time?  Did the staff contact the family concerning the fall?  The nursing home ought to call and meet with the family of the resident to determine why the fall occurred.  Furthermore, the nursing home should take steps to protect the resident from future falls. 


Are there inexplicable bedsores?


Because of the physical disability of nursing home residents, bedsores are inevitable.  A resident is capable of mobility thereafter the resident is developing bedsores, this should be addressed to the nursing home staff.  Why is the resident in one position so long?  Why isn’t the resident encouraged to walk?


If a resident is confined to a bed, it should be determined if the resident is being rotated.  These orders should be noted for rotation and the rotation should be recorded in the resident’s medical chart. 


Are the resident’s needs being satisfied?


Ask how many times a day does the resident’s adult diapers are changed if the resident is incontinent.  If it is predetermined the amount of times a resident should be changed, that could pose a problem.  If the resident isn’t wearing a clean adult diaper, wounds can develop.  If a resident needs more changes, every two hours, the nursing assistants should change them more frequently. 


Is there any bruising?


As residents age, their skin bruises more easily because of medications and sensitivities.  If you see a finger-shaped bruise or a hand print bruise on the resident’s body, it might be a sign of physical abuse and it should be addressed with the staff.


How does the food appear and how is the taste?


Dining with a resident in the cafeteria is an excellent way for family members to determine how well the resident is eating.  When the residents are aging and losing sensitivity, food becomes a paramount issue. 


The nursing home should maintain a record concerning how much food the resident eats during each meal.  If the resident isn’t eating the nursing home’s food but eats food brought by their families, this should be addressed to the staff.


What does the nursing home smell like? 


There can be peculiar odors.  These odors can be attributable to certain medications or because the residents have flatulence.  Furthermore, as people age, they lose control over their bladders and bowels.   If a nursing home reeks with the smell of urine, it could be a sign that the nursing home is not being cleaned properly. 







Signs of fetal distress during pregnancy can cause a medical malpractice lawsuit because of failure to recognize the signs.   






          Decreased fetal movement in the womb

          Vaginal bleeding


          Maternal high blood pressure

          Weight gain of the mother



To prevent permanent injury and disability in a newborn baby, it is critical that medical professionals promptly recognize and address signs of fetal distress. Because fetal distress signals almost always indicate that a fetus is experiencing oxygen deprivation, delivery by emergency C-section is typically is the best way to quickly remove the baby from dangerous, oxygen-depriving conditions. Medical personnel must closely monitor expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies and continuously assess the health of their babies. Failure to follow this standard of care when a mother has a high-risk pregnancy is medical negligence. It also is negligence if physicians dismiss signs or indications of fetal distress. Fetal distress should always be appreciated, and if a mother has a condition that puts her baby at risk of being in distress, such as preeclampsia, the physician must properly manage the high-risk situation to minimize the risk to the baby. Failure to do this is medical malpractice.





Good kidney surgically removed


Unfortunately, this case is not an isolated incident.  Surgeons at a Minnesota hospital removed the wrong kidney of a patient during surgery.  Since one kidney might be cancerous, the patient was to have one kidney removed.  The pathologist called the hospital after he examined the kidney which was found to have no cancer.  It was the horrific discovery of the mistake.  The good kidney remained intact and was functioning properly and was able to be surgically placed back into the patient. 


The  surgeon who mistakenly removed the wrong kidney from a cancer patient said he was distracted by beeper calls and other patients when he made the original mistake in the patient's chart.

The surgeon also said he failed to read the radiologist's notes to ensure he was operating on the correct side, according to a report by the state's Office of Health Facility Complaints.

The hospital admitted the error and issued a rare public apology, a week after the surgical mix-up. At the time, the hospital said the doctor had voluntarily stopped seeing patients pending the outcome of the hospital's investigation.

The report says the surgeon, an unidentified urologist, noted a mass "on the left kidney" when the patient's cancer was first diagnosed in January. But surgery was postponed for two months because the patient, who also suffered from heart problems, needed a heart bypass and valve replacement first.  Later the surgeon examined the patient again. This time, the chart notes say the cancer was on the right. The surgeon told the state investigator that he normally dictates his notes immediately after seeing patients but didn't in this case because "his clinic appointments were overbooked," and he "received numerous beeper calls, which also diverted his attention."

By the time he dictated his notes hours later, he had seen two other patients with right-side kidney problems, and "inadvertently substituted the word 'right' for 'left'" in the patient's chart, the report said.





Woman Died On New Year’s Day After Having A Caesarian Section. 


A 34-year-old woman bled to death after having a C-section that may not have been performed correctly.  According to the sources of news, discussing this particular case and the results of the autopsy that were performed after the woman’s death, she suffered from pre-clampsia.  Subsequently, her lungs collapsed and she died from hypovolemic shock or blood loss.   The hospital argued that the patient was a high risk and suggested that no mistakes were made in her treatment.   But, the family of the deceased woman demanded answers.   Unfortunately, the investigation into the woman’s death has not yet been fully released.


There is a possibility of a medical malpractice lawsuit resulting from this woman’s death.





The patient has incorrect testicular cancer treatment.


This case involves another situation in which there was a surgical error.  As a result, the patient suffered a loss of his one healthy testicle.  Because of shrinkage in the patient’s left testicle, the 47-year-old patient, who is an Air Force veteran, complained about pain and shrinkage.  Because there was a possibility of the risk of cancer, the doctors at the VA Medical Center decided to remove the diseased testicle.  During the procedure, the right healthy testicle was removed by error. 


A later chain of errors was subsequently disclosed.  Theirs consisted of the patient consent, the failure on the part of the medical staff to mark the correct surgical site. 





Surgical error occurs when surgeons forget tools inside patient


The patient was fortunate enough to have the anesthesia correctly administered during his surgery at the medical center.  The tumor located in the abdomen was supposed to be removed during the surgery.  The tumor was correctly removed.  Unfortunately, a 13-inch metal retractor was left in the abdominal cavity during the surgery.  Subsequently, the surgeons at the hospital admitted to accidently leaving the retractor inside the patient.  Most unfortunately this was not the first time that such an accident occurred at the hospital.   There were four other documented accidents, wherein the surgeons forgot to remove surgical instruments.  Fortunately for the patient, the retractor was promptly removed after its discovery and he did not suffer any long term ill health affects because of the mistake. 


Still a settlement was reached between the medical center and the patient. 





Failure for labor induction or induced labor when appropriate can cause a birth injury.  Sometimes, a doctor might tell expecting mothers that they need artificially induced uterine contractions causing the mother to go into labor more rapidly.  Using drugs or physical means helps promote labor induction.  There are a number of reasons why these doctors will use labor induction.   These reasons include an infection, abnormal fetal growth, placental abruption, and late term pregnancy.  Sometimes, when it is not medically appropriate doctors and expecting mothers may decide to induce labor. If the expecting mother does not live near a hospital to safely commute there once labor begin or the expectant mother has a history of rapid deliveries, then the mother might request labor induction as a matter of necessity. 


Labor Induction Risks


If the expectant mother is engaged in labor induction, this might not be a good decision.  Risks related to the procedure include premature birth, having a baby with a dangerously low heart rate, infection, umbilical cord problems and excessive bleeding.  Sometimes a C-section will be needed to be performed for some women who have induced labor.  The expectant mother must give informed consent to labor and delivery decisions. 


Informed Consent


Before performing induced labor, healthcare providers have a legal obligation to obtain informed consent.   The risks and the benefits of the procedure must be made as part of the informed consent.  If the expectant mother elected to have induced labor and was not informed properly by the doctor of the risks of the procedure, more than likely than not she did not give informed consent.  Doctors can be held legally accountable for damages if they fail to obtain informed consent from the patient before doing this procedure.  The expectant mother and child are injured or die as a result of the procedure and the mother did not give informed consent, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice and the victim can seek compensation using a medical malpractice lawsuit.





Girl Dies From Incompatible Blood Type


These cases are very appalling.  The patient would think that most doctors would ensure that these types of mistakes did not occur when children are involved.  Tragically, the exact opposite is true.  This is a case involving a 17-year-old girl who was originally from Mexico and had been in the United States for 3 years seeking medical treatment for a life-threatening heart condition. 


A heart and lung transplant was scheduled to be performed at the medical center in North Carolina.  The surgeons who performed the procedure failed to check the compatibility of the donor’s blood type with the female patient.  A second transplant meant to correct the mistake made during the original operation, caused complications to develop which sent the 17-year-old into a coma.  Brain damage and other complications caused her death to occur two weeks later.  The hospital stated that human error was to blame for the girl’s death.





Patient remained conscious during exploratory surgery


Unfortunately, the patient did remain conscious during the exploratory surgery which seems to be the storyline from a horrific horror medical trauma television series.  During the surgery, the patient was awakened but was not able to communicate to the surgeons or nurses that he was awake and felt every instance of pain during the surgery.  The patient was a 73-year-old Baptist minister from West Virginia.   The objective of the surgery was to explore the cause of the patient’s continued abdominal pain.  


During the exploratory surgery, the patient experienced a very rare condition as Anesthetic Awareness.  In essence, the patient was able to experience the discomfort pain and pressure of the surgical procedure.  The anesthesiologist, who was part of the surgical team, did not give the patient the general anesthetic that would have rendered him unconscious.  The family members of the Baptist minister alleged that the trauma of the exploratory surgery killed him two weeks after the procedure. 






Surgical error occurred when the wrong leg was amputated


A 52-year-old patient was admitted to a hospital in Tampa, Florida to have his leg amputated.  During the procedure, the wrong leg was amputated.  When the surgeons learned of the mistake, it was too late to reverse the damage caused.  Thereafter, the leg had to be surgically removed.  The attending physician was fined and his medical license was revoked for 6 months. 


The hospital admitted that the chain of errors ended in the wrong leg being prepped for the surgery.   How does anyone recovery from this?  The surgeon should have checked other paperwork, including the patient's consent form and medical history, both of which were available in the operating room, BEFORE the procedure.   The blackboard to which surgeons refer in the operating room listed the wrong leg for amputation, as did the operating room schedule and the hospital computer system, testimony revealed.





Doctors perform heart surgery on wrong patient  


It is quite easy for more readers to dismiss the above case as a very rare exception.  The 67-year-old woman was admitted to a teaching hospital to have a cerebral angiography performed.  When the procedure was done, the patient was returned to her hospital room on a different floor than her original one.  She was not discharged the next morning as was planned.  She was rapidly taken away to have an open-heart procedure performed.  After the patient was on the operating table for more than an hour, a doctor from a different department called and asked what they were doing with his patient.  Once the mistake was realized, the procedure was cancelled and the patient was returned to her room in stable condition.  


Unfortunately, the potential consequences of this extra surgery error could significantly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and infection. 





Doctors ignore patient’s symptoms which resulted in death


These mistakes are appalling unto themselves, there are instances where the patient is unable to even be seen by a doctor before succumbing to their illnesses.   One of the most well-known case involved a female patient who visited emergency room in Portland, New York. 


The female patient waited almost 24 hours to be attended to by a physician.  Ultimately, she collapsed on the floor of the emergency room.  Other patients in the emergency room reported that employees of the hospital watched the patient lashing about on the floor but did nothing to intervene or alleviate the patient’s distress.  Ultimately, the patient died on the floor of the emergency room. 






There are 2.3 deaths and 60.5 injuries caused by tractor trailers for every 100 million miles driven on U.S. Highways. 


Commercial Accident Statistics


Approximately $59,150.00 is the average cost for an 18-wheeler accident.  Approximately 90% of all

18-wheeler accidents is caused or aggravated by human error.  Approximately 75% of 18-wheeler accidents are caused by the drivers of automobiles rather than the driver of the 18-wheeler.


Driver Fatigue Causes Approximately 30% Of All 18-Wheeler Accidents


Truck Accident statistics.  Approximately 22% of all truck accidents result in injuries.  Approximately 70% of all truck accidents, there are no injuries or death, only property damage.  Approximately 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck accidents.





Tim Chelpaty Law Office

121 Wyatt Dr. Suite #2

Las Cruces, NM 88005


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Monday - Friday
9am to 5pm


Las Cruces

Silver City





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