Horrific Medical Mistakes

May 10, 2013

A look at “10 Shocking Medical Mistakes”

horrific medical errors.

Some errors are so out of line that they are downright shocking.

Some times the errors hospitals and their staff make are downright unbelievable. Here are some examples of shocking medical errors.

1. Inappropriate tests for pregnant women

There is a reason medical professionals always ask if women are pregnant before they do any tests or prescribe medications.  That baby gestating in a woman’s body is very vulnerable to many medical procedures and medications, and can be seriously harmed or even killed. And yet, it is unfortunately common for pregnant women to receive tests they should not.  If you are pregnant, make sure you remind the doctor or technician before you take any new medicine or receive any kind of test, such as a CT scan or xray.

2. The Wrong patient

I have written about never events, and many of these mistakes are such events. Never events are mistake so grievous, so preventable, that they should never happen. One of these events is operating on or treating the wrong patient.  As the patient or the patient’s representative, always check to make sure that whatever surgery is going to be performed is the correct surgery.

3. Items left behind

Doctors and their staff have procedures to make certain that they don’t leave anything in the body after surgery. Yet, this happens. Sponges and tools are left behind with surprising frequency.  The only way you can prevent this is to make certain you choose a good hospital with proper procedures.

4. Losing a patient

This one sounds like a story on Grey’s Anatomy, yet, it happens.  Patients get misplaced This normally happens to confused individuals. The article in CNN cites the case of a nursing home patient named Mary Cole.  She somehow ended up locked in a closet for four days after she wandered away. Mary suffered from Alzheimer’s.  She was released from the closet still alive, but died shortly after.

5. Fake doctors

This one was in the news recently here in the Philadelphia. It was dentists rather than doctors. Two women opened a dental practice after hours and provided care to numerous people.  This also sounds like a story from a movie, doesn’t it? Always check your doctor’s credentials if you have any concerns.

6. Waiting too Long in the ER

This sort of case drives me crazy.  A person is very sick, needs immediate treatment, but the triage nurse (the person who decides how quickly someone is seen) makes a mistake and puts the patient too far down the list. People die when they wait too long. Or they lose limbs that could have been saved. To think someone was in the right place for care but got ignored, that is just awful.

7. Air Bubbles

Nurses make mistakes too. And CNN here reports of a case involving a young man who died because the central line was removed incorrectly. He was sitting up. He should have been sitting down. As simple a mistake as that and he lost his life. It is important to know about any and all procedures that will be performed, and to understand the safety involved with those procedures. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you think something is wrong. It is your life. Or the live of your loved one.

8. Wrong Body Part

This is another “never event” that happens too frequently. This is one of the reasons hospitals mark the body part (or ask you to mark the body part) on which they will be operating.  These cases often occur when the body part involved is one of two on the body. The CNN article describes someone who has the wrong eye operated on.

9. Infection

Infection is a huge problem in hospital. However, simple steps can prevent a lot of infection. For example, hand washing, proper cleaning, and so on. Don’t let anyone touch you who hasn’t washed his or her hands, or used the cleanser that most hospitals keep all over the place these days.

10. Confusing the tubes

Sometimes patients in hospitals have a lot of tubes running into their bodies. If a nurse or aide isn’t paying attention, she can put the wrong thing in the wrong tube. For example, medicine that is supposed to go into a stomach tube can end up in a chest tube, as happened in the case in the CNN article involving a baby who was killed when the medicine instantly stopped her heart.

Most doctors and other medical professionals do their best to prevent medical mistakes, and care very much for their patients. But when dealing with the health and life of another person, the level of care has to be very high.  The types of mistakes mentioned in the CNN article and described here should never happen.






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