It can be a scary experience to have surgery because so many things can go wrong. The doctors even acknowledge that when they hand patients release forms before they go under that state that they are cognizant of the complications associated with the surgery, but these patients don’t consider that the doctors could complete the wrong surgery entirely! Here are some of the worst surgery blunders.
1. Unnecessary Brain Surgery
John Tunney, of Birmingham, United Kingdom, had a surgery that unnecessarily left him with brain damage. Tunney, 63, consented to surgery to have a biopsy of a tumor in his brain. The doctors failed to follow up on test results that showed that the biopsy was unnecessary. The blood tests determined that Tunney had prolactinoma, which requires only medication to control. During Tunney’s surgery, the doctor removed some of his normal brain tissue and his brain hemorrhaged. Tunney suffered neurological injuries, is now partially blind, and he requires full-time care because of this hospital blunder.
2. Organ Transplant Gone Wrong
Jésica Santillán, a seventeen year old girl who came to America from Mexico to receive treatment for a serious heart condition, died after receiving incompatible heart and lung transplants. This hospital blunder occurred when the doctors failed to check the girl’s blood type against the donated organs that would soon be rejected by her body. The type A organs did not match her type O blood. The girl received a second set of organs that did match her blood type, but these organs led to kidney failure and caused her brain to swell, resulting in her death.
3. 5 Instruments Left in 5 Patients
Doctors at one hospital in the United States are responsible for leaving surgical instruments in five surgery patients in a five year period. Two of the patients were left with one 13-inch long metal retractor in each of them following abdominal surgery and the removal of a cancerous tumor. Three other patients were left with a cardiothoracic retractor, a cardiac retractor, and a clamp used during the surgeries. This hospital has tried to avoid this hospital blunder in the future by requiring all tools used during an operation to be counted, and sometimes the surgeons require x-rays following the surgeries to double check.
4. Newborn Twins Overdosed
Two newborn twins, who happened to be the children of Dennis Quaid and Kimberly Buffington, almost died of an accidental overdose at a hospital. The two babies received 1,000 times the actual dose of the blood-thinning drug Heparin. The hospital blunder was the result of not following the hospital’s standard procedures when administering prescribed drugs.
5. Wrong Leg Amputated
Willie King underwent surgery at a Tampa, Florida hospital in 1995 to amputate an unhealthy leg. Halfway through the surgery, the surgery team realized that they had been operating on the wrong leg. It was too late, and the surgery continued, removing the wrong leg. The mishap inspired the hospital to introduce a new system to double check patient history to prevent this situation from occurring again.
Most surgeries result in healthier and happier patients, but it is a good idea to double check with surgeons before they start slicing to avoid a hospital blunder!