5 Cases of Bizarre Medicine that Are a Reason for a Malpractice Case
We all go to the doctor, and thousands of people have surgeries, procedures, and scans done every day. Medical doctors are seen as nearly infallible heroes of the front lines. And while that remains true even doctors can make mistakes. This is why all hospitals have a law office packed with lawyers trained in malpractice and medical law. However, sometimes, some pretty strange things can happen in medicine seemingly with no fault on the doctor’s part. Everyone seems to know someone who went to the hospital for the strangest reason or had something weird happen at the doctor. Well, here are a few hospital experiences that no one wants to happen, including your doctor, that could be a reason for a malpractice case.
1. Anesthesia Awareness
Carol Weihrer, according to the Guardian, had pain in her right eye for a long period of time. So like many others, she decided, with her doctor, to have the eye removed. On the day of her five and a half hour surgery, anesthesia was applied to Carol normally. The kind of anesthetic used in surgery is made up of two parts, one which paralyzes the patient, and the other which puts them to sleep. Unfortunately, Carol is among a rare few people who become conscious during surgery but are unable to move. She heard the surgeon saying “Cut deeper, pull harder” and the disco music that was playing. She was awake at the exact moment her eye was removed and for the administration of more of the paralyzing anesthetic. Cases like these are known as Anesthesia Awareness, a very rare condition that occurs when a patient becomes conscious during surgery. Anesthetics are the base of many medical procedures and without them, many modern medical treatments would be impossible, including complex surgeries. There is no known cause of anesthesia awareness but is most likely caused by equipment failure, inadequate anesthesia, and human error. If a human error was involved it might be a reason for a malpractice case.
2. Left Behind
Daryoush Mazarei, according to helpingtheinjured.com, had a routine surgery that went perfectly. However, not long afterward he complained agonizing pain in his chest. He claims were dismissed as psychiatric issues for nearly a month. When he was eventually given a CT which revealed a 10-inch long retractor, which was promptly removed. There are thousands of reports of objects being left inside surgery patients every year. These objects can cause extreme pain, infections and even internal bleeding. Retained objects as they are referred to can be any number of objects from small sponges to larger tools and they can lead death in many cases. Most hospitals, doctors, and nursing staffs work to make sure that the object gets left inside a patient but certain objects like sponges can be difficult to find or see.
Childbirth is the most often time these sponges get left behind as they are used to stop any bleeding from the birth canal. Although attempts have been made to use x-ray services to locate any misplaced equipment in a patient’s body, this comes with its own drawbacks. X-ray images are difficult to take during surgeries and they expose patients to more radiation than necessary. Sometimes, small items that have been left behind can be harmless, but a doctor, nurse or institution should never hide that an item was left behind. You may have a reason for a malpractice case if you or a loved one had an object, or objects left inside during surgery and if the hospital staff tried to cover up the incident.
3. No, Your Other Right
Brain surgery is difficult, in fact, most surgeries are extremely complex and difficult, so surgeons of all kinds train for many, many to become adept at them. However, despite hours of countless training, surgeons have been known to make simple mistakes. According to NBC News, an 82-year-old patient went under for surgery to remove a blot clot from his brain. All was going well until the resident, with nearly a decade of experience, discovered there was no clot. Mainly, because he was operating on the wrong side. The doctors and nurses quickly fixed their error but in other cases, patients did not recover so easily. A man named Graham Reeves of Wales died after not one, but two surgeons removed the wrong kidney according to The Guardian. Others have lost testicles, legs, arms, and more. Wrong Side Surgery is easily avoidable and a very good reason for a malpractice case. Doctors and nurses are already encouraged to initial the site to avoid confusion. Family, friends and the patients should also be willing to go over the specifics of the surgery multiple types, to be sure everyone involved knows what’s going on.
Doctors and hospitals are quick to deny these kinds of claims and will often use the “delay, deny, and defend” method to protect themselves which is an unfortunately common phrase in fields that deal with insurance. Professionals in the healthcare industry are often more willing to lie to a patient about what happened then to tell them they made mistake, as they fear this will give a patient a reason for a malpractice case. There are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones and to help make sure nothing goes wrong:
- Ask, “What are you going to do to ensure that you don’t operate on the wrong site?” This immediately puts the pressure on the doctors and nurses to ensure which side is going to be operated on and can help you make sure you know the procedures.
- Request a “time-out” just before anesthesia. This is meant for the surgical team to communicate all parties are fully aware of what is going to happen.
- Say: “My name is John Smith, and my birthday is January 21, 1976.” This will ensure you are properly identified and no filing mishaps have occurred.
- Don’t rush through the informed consent form, use it to make sure no mistakes have been made regarding what you’re getting done.
- Make sure your doctor initials your site or sites. and Ensure the marks in permanent marker and that surgeon make them where he will be able to see them even if other areas are covered.
- Trust your gut, if you feel like something is off, say so. Talk to your surgical team and communicate that you’re uncomfortable or worried.
4. That’s Not Mine
After being told she had mere months to live as a result of cancer, Kim Tutt underwent a series of 5 procedures to remove the bone in her chin up to her ear and replace it with part of her fibula. According to the New York Times, during a routine dental check-up, her dentist interrupted her exam and cleaning in order to update her x-rays. These X-rays showed a mass, that after the radical surgery, was gone. Kim would live and after three months her doctor revealed she was cancer-free. The problem was that she always had been. Her scans had gotten mixed up with someone else. Even minor mix-ups like being given the wrong supplements could be a reason for a malpractice case if the wrong file was used.
Other medical file mishaps have caused all kinds of problems from administering the wrong medication to using the wrong medical treatments to insurance mistakes, all of which is a problem. Correctly identifying a patient is any healthcare center’s first step in treating any injury or illness so emergency care centers work to ensure they know who they are working on as soon as possible. But it doesn’t always happen. The New York Times also reported on Jesica Santillan, 17, who received a double lung and heart transplant. However, the organs she received had a blood type of A but she was blood type O. After hiding the mistake for over a week a new donor was found but she was declared braindead shortly after. If you or a loved one have dealt with a mix-up in patient information or suspect there was one, you may have a reason for a malpractice case.
5. Who’s Baby is This?
IVF or in Vitro fertilization is the process of creating an embryo outside of the womb to implanted later. It’s become more widely used than before thanks to increases in affordability. IVF services have been employed countless times to help countless couples conceive their little bundles of joy. NBC reported that Nancy Andrews was one of those women. After the birth of her child, doctors found out that the sperm that was used did not belong to her husband but to someone else entirely. Even more concerning is the fact some clinic patients have given birth to children who weren’t even their child after being inseminated with the wrong embryos. In other cases, doctors have used their own sperm to create embryos for their patients. Mix-ups in IVF are extremely rare and companies do everything they can to avoid this tragedy from happening. However, it can and does happen, and it is definitely a reason for a malpractice case.
Another major issue that can occur during childbirth are injuries that can lead to cerebral palsy. Cerebral Palsy or CP is a disorder that affects the brain and causes paralysis and motor impairment. Most of the time it’s a congenital disorder, but it can be caused by:
- Low birth weight
- Multiple births
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
- Maternal infections while pregnant
- Maternal health conditions
- Complications during birth
- Infant jaundice or kernicterus
- Infant infections
- Brain injury
- Restricted blood flow to the brain
Many doctors believe that CP, in some cases, can be connected to medical malpractice. During delivery, doctors can accidentally injure an infant if they are dropped, pulled out forcefully, had an instrument-related injury, or endured a long labor period of more than 18 hrs and/or multiple births. You may a reason for a medical malpractice case if you or a loved one was part of a delivery mishap.
Malpractice can be difficult to spot and harder to stop. While there are many bizarre cases of malpractice, there are some truly horrifying examples of hospital and doctor negligence. Whether you’re headed for the OR or going to your local urgent care center, keep yourself safe and keep an eye out for anything unusual or strange that a doctor or nurse says or does. If you think you have a reason for a malpractice case, please contact a local medical malpractice lawyer.