Articles Posted in New Mexico Supreme Court

by
The question this case presented for the New Mexico Supreme Court's review centered on whether a mentally-competent-but-terminally-ill patient had a constitutional right to have a willing physician, consistent with accepted medical practices, prescribe a safe medication that the patient may self-administer for the purpose of peacefully ending the patient’s life. The implications of a "yes" from the Supreme Court would have been that a willing physician could assist the patient and avoid criminal liability because Section 30-2-4 would be unconstitutional as applied to the physician. If the Court answered "no," the alternatives for the patient would be to: (1) endure the prolonged physical and psychological consequences of a terminal medical condition that the patient finds intolerable; or (2) take his or her own life, possibly by violent or dangerous means. "Although the State does not have a legitimate interest in preserving a painful and debilitating life that will imminently come to an end, the State does have a legitimate interest in providing positive protections to ensure that a terminally ill patient’s end-of-life decision is informed, independent, and procedurally safe." The Court declined to hold that there was an absolute and fundamental constitutional right to a physician’s aid in dying and conclude that Section 30-2-4 was not unconstitutional on its face or as applied to Petitioners in this case. View "Morris v. Brandenburg" on Justia Law

by
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case centered on whether defendant professional corporations and a limited liability company were "health care providers" as defined by the state Medical Malpractice Act so as to be able to receive the Act's benefits. The Court of Appeals determined that though Defendants did not literally meet the Act's definition of "health care provider," it nonetheless held that Defendants were health care providers under the Act because a strict adherence to the plain language of the definition would conflict with legislative intent. Although the Court of Appeals reached the same conclusion, the Supreme Court disagreed with the Court's determination that the definition of "health care provider" literally excludes Defendants. The Supreme Court concluded that several provisions in the Act indicated that the Legislature intended professional medical organizations like Defendants to be covered by the Act. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Court of Appeals but on different grounds. View "Baker v. Hedstrom" on Justia Law