5 of the Biggest Medical Malpractice Lawsuits of the Past Decade
We want to trust them with our lives because let’s face it, sometimes we’re in dire need of medical help. Although the best recipe for a healthy life is avoiding doctors and physicians in multiple disciplines, sometimes we need attention. The following malpractice lawsuits and mishaps go down as some of the craziest and most controversial in the last decade.
The Big Five
Dude Looks Like A Lady – Okay, so this one started back in 1999, but legal actions are still in pursuit for what was one of the craziest malpractice stories on the planet. I had to share it for people who haven’t heard of Alexander Baez. Mr. Baez was a former Mr. Mexico and runner-up Mr. Universe. Needless to say, he was always worried about his physical appearance. Well, in 1999 he opted in for pectoral surgery to increase his pectoral muscle size and developmental capacity.
In comes Dr. Silvestre to operate while Alexander is out cold on the operating table.
When Mr. Baez awoke he found two large C-cup implanted breasts on his chest. Later investigation found that Dr. Reinaldo Silvestre was not actually a doctor at all, but rather an imposter with fake credentials operating on people for fun in Florida. In 2004, Silvestre was found in Belize, believed to have treated hundreds of patient over a one year period, we was arrested and charged.
This Girl is on Fire – In 2009, Janice McCall died shortly after catching on fire while lying on the operating table. Although information was never disclosed about the cause of the fire, other cases have supported that operating equipment and utensils, if not used careful, could strike oxygen supplies or alcohol used for disinfecting surgery areas. Millions of dollars in payouts are now distributed to victims of surgical fires because over 650 patients are affected each year. Hospitals are unable to cover up the mess any longer.
Are You Awake? – If you’ve ever seen the movie Awake starring Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba than you know what Anesthesia Awareness encompasses. Simply put, anesthesia has two components, one that paralyzes an individual and one that puts them to sleep. Well, sometimes the part that puts them to sleep doesn’t work and patients are forced to listen and watch the operation unfold. The situation is often very traumatizing, as shown in the movie when Hayden realizes that everyone wants to kill him and take his money.
This actually happens in real life, and it happened to Carol Weihrer, who was having eye surgery of all surgeries. The doctors didn’t know she was awake because her eyeball was open for the surgery and she couldn’t speak to tell them she can see the surgeons removing parts of her eye.
Really nasty and scary stuff. Carol currently cannot sleep lying down anymore due to paralyzing memories and spends her nights in a reclining chair.
So…..Which One Do We Use Again? – Back in 2000, Graham Reeves died after surgeons removed the wrong kidney! He was 70 years old and had come to the hospital for a kidney removal because he had one bad kidney and another that worked like a charm. Well, the doctors basically killed him when they removed the healthy kidney, left the failing one, and sent him on his way. He died shortly after the malpractice. In addition, years later, Willie King received a $1.15 million settlement after surgeons amputated the wrong leg due to his diabetes.
A Sick Jigg-Saw Story-line – Okay, this one is the worst mistake of all time. Seriously, I cannot believe that every single hospital in the area wasn’t pulled out of business. Kim Tutt was feeling pain in her jawbone and decided to get an x-ray at the dentist. After the x-ray, consulting physicians noticed a large lump on the left side of her jaw. Further examinations showed that she only had 3 to 6 months to live with her two sons. After some discussion, surgeons told Kim that if she underwent a reconstructive surgery procedure she would live longer and could spend more time with her kids.
Although the doctors said she would look extremely hideous, she would have more time with her family and friends, so she went for it and the surgery was successful.
Three months later she received a call from the doctor’s office and I’m sure it went something like this, “We have good news and bad news, which one do you want first? You want the good news? Okay, we are proud to tell you that there is no cancer in your body and you’re going to live a long and prosperous life.”
Kim starts to cry with joy, “What could possibly be the bad news then?”
“Uhhhh, ma’am. You never had cancer, we mixed up the charts.”
This article was written by Matthew Hall. Matt is currently a law student at Stetson Law in Sanford, FL. When Matt is not busy studying for is law classes, he enjoys researching and writing articles on various topics of law. Matt has recently been authoring articles on behalf of Heil-Law.com, the premier medical malpractice attorney in Central, FL. If you would like to read more of Matt's work, you can visit him on Google+.