Patients who are injured because of the negligent actions of their doctors or healthcare providers are entitled to compensation for their injuries and losses. In the United States, most of the 30 million surgeries performed each year have successful outcomes. However, when preventable mistakes or freak accidents occur during surgery or patient care, this is medical malpractice. The following cases show that this can happen to almost anyone.
Incorrect Surgery Resulting in Permanent Injury
Among the most tragic of medical mistakes is when a doctor performs an incorrect surgery on a patient. One such case in 1995 involved a botched surgery where a doctor removed the wrong leg on a diabetic patient. After the mistake, the 51-year-old patient had to have his other leg removed, which should have been done in the first place.
Misdiagnosis of Condition
A 34-year-old mother of two was mistakenly diagnosed with jaw cancer during a routine dentist appointment. She was told she would have six months to live if she did not undergo a radical surgery that would involve replacing most of her lower jaw with bone tissue from her leg. After having her first surgery, she was notified by her surgeon that her original biopsy was possibly cross-contaminated at the lab, meaning she did not have cancer to begin with. Five surgeries later, she is permanently disfigured.
Failure to Properly Monitor Patients
One of the most famous malpractice cases during the last decade was the death of comedienne Joan Rivers during a procedure at a Manhattan center. Rivers went into cardiac arrest, but her treating physicians did not notice her deteriorating vital signs and take steps to save her life when they should have. This error compounded the human error made by the anesthesiologist involved with the surgery that was discovered during the subsequent investigation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Leaving Medical Equipment or Supplies in Patients
Leaving gauze, clamps, or sponges in patients is a common reason for patients having malpractice lawyers file suits on their behalf. In one case, a patient complained of intense pain after having lower abdominal surgery. His doctors told him it was all in his head. Two years later after a CT scan, it was found that a ten-inch long retractor had been left in his abdomen during his surgery. The device was poking out from under his ribs. The patient sued his doctors and had the surgical tool removed.