When you go to a Williamsport doctor or hospital for medical attention, you expect quality care delivered by trained, skilled, attentive medical professionals. And that’s what the vast majority of people get when they see a physician here or when they’re admitted to a hospital anywhere in the U.S.
The exceptions to the expected standard of care can end lives or forever alter them with medical mistakes that result in new injuries in addition to the existing health problems that the patient brought to the doctor’s office or hospital in the first place.
Medical malpractice occurs when medical professionals harm patients by failing to properly diagnose or treat a patient’s ailments. Some of these malpractice cases involve severe lapses in judgment by medical providers that result in lifelong injuries or even patient death, and lifetimes of suffering for family members.
Here’s a look at some of the worst of those medical errors.
Repeated wrong-side brain surgeries
Three different surgeons at a Rhode Island hospital in 2007 operated on the wrong side of three different patients’ brains. In November, the chief resident began performing surgery on the wrong side of an 82-year-old’s brain, but the “patient was OK” afterward, according to an MSNBC report. The same result was reported for a February wrong-side neurosurgery.
The patient who endured a wrong-side brain surgery in August wasn’t as fortunate as the others. He died a few weeks after the botched operation, prompting state officials to launch a review of the hospital’s neurosurgery practices.
Wrong leg amputated
A National Law Review report said this case “grabbed national headlines in 1995” when “a host of medical errors” resulted in a surgeon amputating the wrong leg of a diabetic man.
According to an Associated Press article, “Dr. Rolando Sanchez was cutting through muscle, tendons and ligaments” when a sobbing nurse informed him that he was amputating the wrong leg. The doctor had no choice but to finish the surgery.
This wasn’t Sanchez’s only serious surgical error: in a separate case at a different hospital, his medical license was temporarily suspended “after he amputated a woman’s toe without her consent.”
This phenomenon occurs when a patient receives an improper level of anesthetic and remains completely aware – and able to feel the pain of surgery – but is unable to speak or move. A West Virginia man who endured the nightmare of anesthetic awareness committed suicide two weeks after the bungled surgery.
Film star, comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Dana Carvey nearly died when surgeons bypassed the wrong artery in his heart during a double bypass operation. Because of the surgical error, a diseased artery remained clogged, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.
Carvey later settled his medical malpractice lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. He then donated the settlement to several charities, with most of the donations going to cardiac research.