Doctors and medical staff dedicate their lives to helping others, although they’re only human. And that always leaves room for error, even when a patient’s well-being or life is on the line. The following medical mishaps and malpractice cases show what happens in the worst cases of human error.
Man Awake, But Can’t Scream, During Surgery
In perhaps what is the worst case of medical malpractice I’ve ever heard about, a 73-year-old man was awake during the duration of his surgery but could not call out or scream due to the effects of medication the doctor had administered.
Known as anesthetic awareness, the condition left Sherman Sizemore completely awake in extreme pain and completely aware of what was happening to him during the surgery. Anesthesiologists apparently ‘forgot’ to administer drugs to render him unconscious until the surgery was almost over.
Sizemore committed suicide two weeks after the surgery. Attorneys for his family blamed the medical mishap for their father’s demise.
Woman Dies Afer Soup Injected Into IV
We can dispute how great America is all day long, but one thing most of us can agree on about the country is that standards for medical care are pretty high, which is not always the case in other countries.
On September 28, 2012, in Brazil, 88-year-old Ida Vitor Maciel died after hospital staff at a facility in Barra Marisa, Rio de Janeiro, inadvertently injected soup into her intravenous drip instead of her feeding tube.
The Wrong Vial
If we aren’t using our body organs, we might as well donate them to a good cause and give them to science, right? Miami Herald photographer Bob East thought so, although the decision cost more than he could see.
After a corneal cancer diagnosis, East decided he would donate his eye to science. When he went in for the removal procedure, the doctor came in holding a small bottle of formaldehyde in his hand.
The surgeon performed the procedure without problems initially, but things turned drastic when he inadvertently grabbed the vial of formaldehyde rather than the vial he needed. He injected the substance into East’s spine, causing instant and permanent brain damage. East died five days later.
He killed so many patients, they named him Dr. Death.
Born Christopher Dntsch, Dr. Death worked as a neurosurgeon in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, area, for many years before his care and concern for fellow humankind turned sinister.
Between 2011 and 2014, Dr. Death performed several reckless surgeries that left many patients dead or suffering permanent disabilities. Despite the countless deaths and mistakes surrounding the doctor, no one became suspicious until 2015 when two patients filed a lawsuit against him.
Investigators learned that Duntsch lied about his credentials to practice medicine, used drugs, and abused patients years before his crimes came to light.
Duntsch was charged with several crimes and subsequently lost his license to practice medicine. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Man Catches on Fire on Operating Table
Another shocking case of medical malpractice happened in 2012 when Enrique Ruiz caught on fire on the hospital’s operating table when he went in for a routine tracheotomy. The hospital added insult to injury when it attempted to cover up its misdeeds.
The explosion occurred after an oxygen tank exploded due to the electronic scalpel the doctor used. Ruiz sustained second-degree burns in the incident, although he’s lucky to be alive.
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