Worst Medical Malpractice Cases in Recent History

by Five Fantastic Lawyers™ on March 15, 2013

Guest post regarding the worst medical malpractice cases in recent history.

Medical malpractice causes injury to patients acquiring medical assistance for any number of conditions. Malpractice extends recovery time, causes new conditions and may end in death. Malpractice occurs when health care providers do not sufficiently diagnose or treat patients or professionals who do not implement appropriate precautions.

Burned Alive

Recovering from any type of surgery poses a challenge for the body that must heal from the trauma endured. Waking from anesthesia to find the body suffered additional trauma not only hampers recovery time, but also creates emotional and psychological stress for the patient. This dilemma faced Robbin Reeves in 2005 after he underwent liver transplant surgery at the Vancouver General Hospital. When Reeves awakened from anesthesia, he found one of his shoulders covered with an extensive, blood soaked bandage. During the surgery, Reeves suffered cardiac arrest. While hurrying to rectify the situation, the surgeon ignited alcohol-containing disinfectant applied to the man’s neck and shoulder. Additionally, his transplant surgery failed. Reeve’s malpractice lawsuit remains pending.

Wrong-Sided Procedures

As reported by the MSNBC, Rhode Island Hospital surgeons performed inappropriate surgeries on three separate occasion in 2007. One patient enduring an inappropriate sided procedure died three weeks after the event. The last incorrectly performed surgery occurred when a neurosurgeon drilled into the right side of a patient’s skull though imaging studies indicated the patient suffered intracranial bleeding on the left side. The hospital incurred a $50,000 fine and a formal reprimand at the hands of the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Inappropriate Amputation

This case appeared in national headlines in 1995 when surgeons removed the wrong leg of a patient Willie King. A number of errors that included incorrect documentation led to the inappropriate surgery. Amazingly, the surgeon performing the negligent surgery endured a $10,000 fine and lost his medical license for a period of six months. Mr. King filed a lawsuit against University Community Hospital and the negligent surgeon. The court system awarded the patient $1.2 million.

Negligence Leads to Suicide

According to the PubMed.gov. website, thousands of surgery patients endure the unimaginable nightmare of awakening annually during the procedure. Health care providers term this situation anesthetic awareness. During the phenomenon, patients awaken partially. They have full physical sensation but cannot move or speak. A West Virginia pastor suffered this occurrence in 2006, which eventually led to the man’s suicide. Reports indicate that the anesthesiologist overseeing the patient’s sedation level during the exploratory operation did not administer the appropriate medications to Sherman Sizemore until 16 minutes after the surgeon made the first incision. The medications ensure that patients slip into a state of unconsciousness at the appropriate time. The pastor took his own life two weeks following the surgery.

Comedian Dies Twice

Actor and Saturday Night Live member Dana Carvey suffered cardiac arrest twice when surgeons bypassed the wrong artery in his heart. The celebrity underwent emergency surgery to alleviate clogs in his arteries and necessary reparative procedures on one artery. The surgeon excused his error as an honest mistake. The comedian did not share the surgeon’s rational and filed a lawsuit against the physician for $7.5 million for the error and the two-year recovery period endured.

Plastic Surgery Gone Wrong

Many believed that Dr. Reinaldo Silvestre held a reputable career as a plastic surgeon. The physician enjoyed a private practice and specialized in breast augmentation. A bodybuilder consulted with the surgeon for pectoral enhancement. The man underwent the cosmetic surgery, but awakened to find he had female breasts. Upon filing a lawsuit, the Medical Association discovered that Silvestre did not possess a medical license. The poser fled the country, but law enforcement officials apprehended the would be surgeon who endured a $5 million fine.

About the author

Charlie Farnsworth writes about Aviation Law, Medical Malpractice, Torts, Healthcare Fraud and other interesting legal areas.

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