Top 10 Medical Mistakes

When you are a patient, you trust that you are in good hands and that the decisions made by the hospitals, doctors and nurses are the right ones. However, sometimes they can make mistakes and these medical blunders can have serious, if not deadly, results.

#10 Open Heart Surgery on Wrong Patient

A 67-year-old woman was admitted to a teaching hospital to have a cerebral angiography performed.  After the procedure was completed she was taken to another hospital room on a different floor from her original room. Instead of being discharged the next day as planned, she was instead taken to the operating room to have open heart surgery performed. After being on the operating table for an hour, a doctor call to ask what they were doing to his patient. When the mistake was realized the procedure was cancelled. The potential health consequences of the extra surgery could have been significant.

#9 Face Goes on Fire During Surgery

Kim Grice, 29, from Florida was undergoing outpatient surgery to have three cysts on her head biopsied when a fire erupted on her face. Grice was flown by helicopter to the South Alabama Burn Unit and has suffered second-degree burns on her face and neck. The fire department described the incident as a “flash fire” and hospital officials have no idea what caused it, though malfunctioning electrical equipment could be to blame. Grice told her mom, “They woke me up and every one around me was hysterical. I don’t know what happened to me.”

#8 Drilling into the Wrong Side of Skull

In 2007 a 82-year-old patient required an operation to stem the flow of bleeding from her brain to her skull. The surgeon started the operation by drilling a hole through the skull of the patient. The problem is that it was the wrong side of the head, even though a CAt scan had been performed only moments before indicating the bleeding was happening on the left side. The mistake was caught early enough for the resident surgeon to close the initial hole and proceed to operate on the other side of the head. This incident was the third mistake of this kind to happen that year at Rhode Island Hospital.

#7 Fertility Clinic Uses Wrong Sperm

Nancy and Thomas Andrews of New York were ecstatic when she became pregnant after a vitro fertilization procedure. After the birth of their baby they noticed the childs skin color was a significantly darker than both parents. After having three DNA tests done, it was determined that Thomas Andrews was not the biological father of baby Jessica. The couple was emotionally devastated by the news and sued the New York Medical Services for using the wrong sperm to impregnate Nancy Andrew’s egg. The couple continued to raise baby Jessica as their own.

#6 Nose is Removed During Surgery

After his divorce in 2006 Vishal Thakker decided “to do something selfish” and get a nose job.  Mr. Thakker had a number of surgeries and went to a leading plastic surgeon in Oklahoma to have the latest operation. When Thakker woke up after surgery he discovered he had no nose.  The surgeon explained that during the operation he had found an infection and seeing that the patient was on the operating table and under anesthesia, the surgeon made the decision to remove Mr. Thakkers nose.

#5 Healthy Lung Removed

 In 2005 Laurence Ball of the United Kingdom complained of chest pains. Mr. Ball was referred to NHS Grampian, where it was diagnosed with lung cancer and advised to have his lung removed, which he agreed to. The medical mistake was that there had been a mix up with the paperwork and Mr. Ball did not in fact have cancer and there was no need to have removed his lung.  Laurence Ball suffered from poor health and loss of breath after having this needless operation.

#4 Double Mastectomy Mistake

Linda McDougal, 46, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2002. She was told that the cancer was so aggressive that a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation were her only chance of survival. Linda McDougal had the operation to remove both her breasts.  The day after the operation a doctor revealed that McDougal’s test results had been switched with another woman’s and in fact she did not have cancer and it had been unnecessary to have had the double mastectomy

#3 Vasectomy Gone Wrong

After his wife became pregnant with their fourth child, Daniel Stalker decided to go in for a routine vasectomy. During the surgery Mr. Stalker began experiences severe pain – even though he had been anesthetized. Dr. Paul Dewart continued with the operation until Stalker keeled over vomiting. One of Stalkers testicles turned black and doubled in size. He later required having both his testicle removed due to searing pain.

#2 Surgeon Removes Wrong Leg

In 1995 Willi King, 52, was admitted to a Tampa, Florida hospital to have his leg amputated, due to complications from diabetes. By the time the surgeon realized he was amputating the wrong leg he was cutting through muscle, tendons and ligaments and had to continue to amputate the leg. The hospital admitted  that a chain of errors culminated in the wrong leg being prepped for the surgery.  Mr. King went to another hospital to have the other leg amputated and now walks with the aid of prosthetic legs.

#1 Receives Wrong Heart and Lungs

Jesica Santillan, 17, of Mexico died 2 weeks after having received heart and lungs of a patient whose blood type did not match her own. Doctors at The Duke University Medical Center in the US, failed to check the compatibility before the surgery began. Santillan, who had a blood type-O, received organs from a type-A donor. The error sent the patient into a comalike state and she died shortly after an attempt to switch the organs back out for compatible ones failed.


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