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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Court rules woman cannot sue out-of-state doctor under state laws

People in Bozeman who have suffered due to poor care rendered by medical providers may count on the law to provide them with recourse. Often, their intention is not to punish the doctors or clinicians involved, but rather earn compensation to cover the cost of the issues that they are left to deal with. However, as is the case in all legal proceedings, issues such as jurisdiction must first be settled before one can move forward with any intended legal action.

What if, for example, one received medical care in another state, only to later learn that incompetence or error on the part of the doctor who provided it had caused his or her condition to worsen? Such was the scenario encountered by a New Mexico woman years after having received gastric bypass surgery in Texas. A subsequent procedure found that the chronic abdominal pain she had been experiencing since that initial surgery was due to poor suturing done by the original surgeon. However, since the surgeon was a state employee, and Texas state law prohibits people from suing its employees, she was unable to initiate action in the county where the surgery had taken place.

She chose instead to file her lawsuit in New Mexico. While initial rulings were made in her favor, the New Mexico State Supreme Court recently dismissed her case. Doctor groups who argued in favor of the dismissal worried that a favorable ruling for the woman might deter doctors from providing care to out-of-state patients.

If one must receive care from at an out-of-state facility, then he or she should take the time to understand that state’s medical malpractice guidelines if the issue of negligence were to ever arise. An attorney may be of assistance when researching what those guidelines may be.

Source: Albuquerque Journal “Texas doctor can’t be sued in New Mexico, court rules” Salazar, Martin, Mar. 14, 2017

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