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Ten Stories of Terrifying Medical Errors

Terracotta plaque of a scene in which a man is performing surgery on another man in a 1500s German tavern | Image: Wellcome Images via Wikimedia Commons

For most of us, our darkest imaginings would include narratives of ourselves or people we love suffering a life threatening medical incident or illness. In such a scenario, typically the hospital and medical personnel of our choice are part of our vision as possible saviors. 

Yet every day, horrible, preventable medical mistakes are made worldwide, and some prove deadly. The article linked below describes cases of medical malpractice the likes of which we all hope never to have personal experience with. One example: 

8. Regina Turner Had The Wrong Surgery

"Regina Turner endured many people’s worst nightmare concerning surgery—receiving the wrong operation. Her ordeal was already frightening enough: She had been admitted to the hospital for a “left-sided craniotomy bypass,” which was supposed to prevent Turner from having continued strokes, as she’d previously had a series of mini-strokes, which affected her ability to talk. After having the wrong surgery, her health deteriorated.

Before she went into surgery, Turner was still in relatively good shape. She was “mobile, cognizant, and able to care for herself.” According to the lawsuit filed against hospital, Turner’s condition worsened: “After the incorrect surgery, [Turner] requires around-the-clock care for her basic needs. [ . . . ] [She] will also continue to suffer from emotional distress, anxiety, disfigurement and depression.”

Rather than a left-side bypass, she had been given a right-side bypass, which caused considerable damage to her nervous system. Once the mistake was caught, the correct procedure was done, but Turner remained in poor health. The failure of anyone to catch the doctors’ mistake meant that numerous protocols were overlooked. Generally, before an operation, doctors and nurses will have a “time-out,” where they discuss in depth the details of the surgery and go over exactly what needs to be done. The surgeon also has to mark exactly where the surgery is to be performed. Apparently, this wasn’t enough to keep them from operating on the wrong side."

Read about more terrifying cases of medical malpractice here.

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