Two patients infected with a strain of bacteria resistant to drugs (called a “superbug”) filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the scope that was used in their procedures. An 18-year-old student fighting a severe infection, along with the family of another woman who died from the infection, sued the manufacturer of the medical devices known as a duodenoscopes.
This scope is used in many gastrointestinal procedures and is threaded through the mouth to the stomach.
The lawsuit alleged that the reusable scopes were unsafe because after a re-design of the scope, the cleaning protocols weren’t updated and published. It is difficult to properly disinfect the unit, which is why accurate and up-to-date disinfecting procedures are critical. The suit claims there was fraud and negligence on the part of the manufacturer. The claimants are seeking unspecified damages for injuries and, in the case of the woman, her resulting death.
In an odd twist of events, a software designer who was injured at a hospital has settled his medical malpractice case for $20 million AND a commitment from the hospital that it will participate in a case study aimed at identifying what went wrong in his case.
This designer went to the Washington hospital complaining of back and abdominal pain after falling out of his bed. He informed ER personnel that he suffered from a condition called AS—ankylosing spondylitis.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis affecting the spine. The vertebrae fuse together, causing the spine to become easily fractured, even as the result of a small incident. Although a scan was completed during his first emergency room visit, no fracture was identified (actually it was there, just not seen) and the patient was released. Although he clearly informed hospital personnel about his AS, there was no note in his file.
The parents of a 19-month-old toddler are suing her hospital because of the delayed treatment she received after swallowing a battery. The incident has left the girl with a burned esophagus, which restricts her eating, and does not allow for her to eat solid foods. The family is asking for unspecified damages, since “hundreds of thousands” have already been spent on her care.
While the toddler was “mouthing” a remote control, a small lithium ion battery dislodged and fell out. Before her mother was able to take the battery, she swallowed it. 911 was immediately called and the little girl was brought to the emergency room.
Accused of not protecting newborn babies and patients, the parent company of a Texas hospital is being sued for $1.5 billion in a putative class action lawsuit. A putative class action is a type of lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of people, known as a class, who have been affected by the same type of injury as the result of a defendant’s actions or negligent behavior.
Tuberculosis Spread Through Infected Nurse’s Contact
In this case, the defendant is being accused of exposing newborn babies, as well as other patients, to tuberculosis (TB). The lawsuit is now in a federal court and could have as many as 3,000 members in the class, representing those children born at the hospital. The suit claims that the hospital ignored all signs that an employee had active tuberculosis. Although the employee told the hospital she was actively exhibiting TB symptoms, they didn’t take her off duty until nine months later. At that point she had come into contact with thousands of patients; contact which included feeding and bathing newborns.
Everyone wants a better life. That means a life that is healthier, longer, and less painful. The creation of medical aids to add to quality (and quantity) of life has been going on for well over a thousand years. For instance, some historians believe that the first prosthetic limb dates back to 200 BC, made out of iron for a Roman general. Innovations and new technologies in prosthetics have continued ever since, with modern-day prosthetic limbs now being constructed of lightweight materials like carbon fiber; and with better functionality than ever due to advancements in biometrics and 3D printing.
So we can all agree that the drive for newer and better medical devices is a very good thing indeed. But not all products help patients; in fact, many of them harm. The main reasons defective products are released to the medical marketplace involve corporate greed and FDA oversights.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog post, we’ve seen some shocking medical errors—doctors insulting a patient during surgery, an anesthesiologist blinding five people in one day, a three-year-old dying in the dentist’s chair. Here are some more tales from the operating room that never should have happened:
In our last post, we saw how anesthesia awareness can cause a patient to be trapped during surgery, unable to move, but feeling all the pain; how children are more sensitive to anesthesia than adults; and how one careless anesthesiologist can blind five people in a day.
Here are three more horror stories due to the negligence or incompetence of medical professionals who should have known better.
Did you know there’s a phobia specifically for surgical operations? If you have tomophobia, you never want to go under that scalpel. And with good reason, it turns out.
That reason, called “anesthesia awareness,” is what happens when you are paralyzed—fully awake, unable to move a muscle—during surgery. It was depicted in the popular 2007 movie “Awake.”You probably don’t have to worry: It only affects between 0.2% and 0.4% of patients undergoing surgery. But it’s a reminder that anesthesia is important—and sometimes, dangerous—depending on who is administering it.
In this three-part post, we’re going to discuss ten tragic yet avoidable anesthesia errors that caused patients pain, mental trauma, and even death.
We go to the hospital when we are sick and expect that we will receive the proper treatment and care. We trust that our doctors and other healthcare professionals will act in our best interests and keep us safe and fully informed about our own medical condition. But what happens when that trust is discarded or ignored out of fear or negligence, and potentially endangers the life of a patient?
Such was the case of a regular and longtime patient of Parkland Memorial Hospital. This woman who was suffering from severe heart problems related to her diabetes, once again placed her trust and care in Parkland Memorial Hospital. By all accounts, the patient had life-saving heart surgery and made a full recovery. For the next seven years, this patient was then seen and examined at the hospital during various appointments and check-ups which included getting 22 separate chest X-rays without incident. But despite the allegation that a foreign object in the patient’s heart was clearly visible in numerous X-rays since 2007, no one from Parkland Memorial Hospital thought to inform or disclose this information to the patient herself.
A $12 million dollar settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit brought against a Miami Hospital was recently reached. The federal lawsuit alleged that a cardiac specialist at the hospital performed many costly and unnecessary medical procedures on patients, going back to the year 2007.
The doctor at the center of the allegations was the director of the cardiac electrophysiology center, a position he apparently attained as a reward for getting the $10 million dollar donation to build the medical center. South Miami Hospital is part for the Baptist Health South Florida nonprofit medical system, and it is speculated that officials at a high level of Baptist Health were aware of some of the doctor’s actions.
A spokesperson for the hospital commented that the hospital fully cooperated with the federal government in reaching this agreement, and reiterated that these were only allegations. The hospital has not admitted fault in this case. Further, the cardiac specialist at the center of these claims is no longer on staff at the hospital.