Ten Shocking But True Medical Malpractice Mistakes

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

I found an interesting article the other day recounting ten significant and SCARY medical mistakes that ACTUALLY happened.  While these are not per se medical malpractice, particularly because we do not know the facts surrounding the case, with the right facts there instances could easily be medical malpractice.

The first scary mistake is treating the wrong patient.  Yes—this ACTUALLY happens!  This is when hospital staff fail to verify a patient’s true identity before an operation.  This may happen with a patient’s conditions, appearance, or name are similar.  It is truly a problem when one patient is going to have, say, an appendectomy and the other patient is getting his or her kidney removed because it is failing.  While the appendix does not serve a great function, the removal of a health kidney is certainly more significant and scary!

Second, foreign objects left inside of patients by medical teams.  I have discussed this before too, and find these circumstances also fairly scary.  This is where a medical team leaves tools and other surgical equipment inside of a patient by mistake.  This happens much more frequently then you may imagine, and frequently can result in the death of a patient!

Third, forgotten patients that become lost or trapped.  While this does not sound like it is very common, and in fact rather silly that it happens, this scenario frequently plagues mental health patients.

The fourth scary mistake is one I have discussed plenty of times before: Fake doctors.  Some individuals pretend to be doctors and offer great deals on treatment.  They might appear to be legitimate with the tools and office space they have, but never allow them to fool you!  This does not just mean people with no medical training, but also doctors who have been unlicensed due to violations such as, well you guessed it—medical malpractice!  Also confirm that your physician is licensed!

Fifth, forgotten in the waiting room at a hospital.  This too happens way too often, and I have also discussed this before.  Commonly, patients are harmed when hospitals neglect them in the emergency room too long when the patient is there for a heart condition or other “silent killer.”  Compared to a patient who may have been in a car accident or bleeding, a patient suffering minor signs of a heart attack does not appear to need immediate treatment.  However, that is not always the case and has resulted in way too many deaths.

The sixth mistake is air bubbles in blood.  This scenario seems almost fake as a cause in the first place.  However, this commonly happens after surgeries or dialysis treatments where a hole in the body is closed but air is sucked in.  This can result in air cutting off the blood supply to a patient’s organs which, as a result, can cause death.

The seventh medical mistake is another I have discussed quite frequently: wrong site surgery.  This used to happen a lot, however, nowadays it occurs less because of more stringent hospital policies, guidelines, and procedure.  But this does not go to say that it never happens.  In fact, I thought the occurrences of this would be significantly less than it actually is.  Wrong site surgery is a problem because it multiples the harm and surgeries—as well as cost—that a victim needs to undergo.  For example, if a patient has a torn ACL in her knee and the doctor operates the wrong knee, now the patient has two bad knees, requires at least one more surgery, and will likely miss a significant period of time because she will be unable to go to work—even on crutches—with two bad knees.

Eighth is infection.  This is another topic that I have written a lot about and I am always surprised by what new studies find.  For example, an article I wrote awhile ago dealt with the dangerous and antibiotic resistant drugs on hospital curtains.  Another article dealt with the dangerous bacteria found on the vast majority of all health care provider uniforms.  Finally, a third and more shocking article found that a lot of hospital tools—no matter how clean—would still have bacteria on it.

The ninth mistake is lookalike tubes.  This is horrific because a chest tube and a feeding tube look very similar, almost identical actually.  In a heartbreaking case, a young baby with a chest tube and feeding tube was given medicine mistakenly in the wrong tube, and food in the other.  For medication that was supposed to go into a baby’s stomach, it was mistakenly put into the baby’s heart which resulted in her instant death because the medicine stopped her heart on contact.

The last medical mistake is quite possibly everyone’s worst nightmare: Waking up during an operation.  Countless times do we read actual news stories or see this scenario portrayed in movies; it is absolutely frightening to see or even think about.  Commonly this happens when a medical team does not have the current dosage, which can be affected by your height, weight, and tolerance, as well as other odd factors such as when you ate last.

I hope this article added more information than the original source.  I cannot credit the creation of these 10 factors to myself, however, I did add a substantially larger amount of information per issue than the original article.  In addition, I added a lot of legal practical knowledge and took a different spin.  I hope you enjoy this post and learned something!

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com .  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com. 

 

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