The 6 Most Terrifying Medical Malpractice Cases Ever
Any trip to the doctor's office involves a fairly straightforward trade off: you hand over your personal safety to the guy who went to school for eight years, and they fix something that you wouldn't have the first clue how to do yourself. But as in every profession, some doctors are better than others, and even good doctors have bad days.
And then, there are those doctors who go out of their way to find creative ways to make the world a terrifying place.
"Sir, I'm afraid we inadvertently obliterated your penis."
A patient named William Morrison underwent a screening that required his penis be washed in a solution of three to five percent acetic acid. Sure, just typing the words "acid" and "penis" in the same sentence makes us cringe. But that doesn't mean anything could possibly go wrong there, right? Hell, a three to five percent solution probably feels kind of tingly and refreshing, like when you wash your sack in a bowl of ginger ale.
When it came time actually wash his wang, however, Mr. Morrison got a 72 percent solution, which is a little more like having your dick immersed in a piranha's mouth, after it's been drinking 72 percent acid.
But that's a one-in-a-million scenario, right? Surely health care professionals normally take way more care when a man's dong is on the line.
Not in the case of Mexican doctor, Francisco Javier Valentin y Ortiz who, despite having a wicked matador name, was not great with sharp objects, and cut off a patient's penis during a routine circumcision. We like to think Dr. Ortiz muttered "Oh geez," scratched his head then tried to put the severed penis into the patient's ballsack, kind of like a tulip in a vase, in the hopes the guy wouldn't notice.
But those two are cases are only runners up in the medical world's penis mutilation Olympics. Our gold medalist is Romanian doctor, Naum Ciomu. He separated himself from the pack when he was performing an operation to correct some poor dude's weird, bulgy nutsack. Due to the various stresses of being a guy who has to perform delicate surgeries on weird, bulgy nutsacks all day, he lost his shit and cut off the patient's dick with a scalpel, put it on the operating table and furiously hacked it into tiny pieces in front of the nursing staff. They were apparently too busy trying to think of a more succinct way to say "What the fuck is going on?" to stop him.
Ciomu said he had a temporary loss of judgment, due to some personal problems. You know, kind of like how you get really mad sometimes and punch a wall. It was like that, only he hacked a man's penis to confetti. He ended up having his license suspended and he was ordered to pay the patient 120,000 pounds while the patient got a shiny new non-functional wang made from arm skin.
Repairing the fender of a Ferrari. Equal value of a single dong.
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Mental health can be a tricky subject. For instance, if you see a psychiatrist, the first task is making sure they're not crazier than you are. One way to tell is if the psychiatrist, for instance, demands that you start calling them "mother."
Which brings us to Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, Margaret Bean-Bayog, whose last name is lesser known slang for burrito-induced Montezuma's revenge. She was treating a student at the school who came to her because he was feeling lonely. According to the good doctor, the patient had suffered severe childhood abuse and was now hooked on drugs and alcohol as well as dealing with overwhelming anxiety, rage and sociopathic tendencies. That was strange, because no previous doctor had managed to detect any of these things in the poor kid.
The course of treatment was exactly what you'd suspect given the young man's poor mental health: several thousand pages of sadomasochistic fantasies written by the doctor, and an extensive effort to brainwash him into believing he was a child and that the doctor was his mother.
The doctor wrote flash cards for her patient with instructions to read them 10 times a day until he believed them, chock full of important mental health slogans like "I'm your Mom and I love you and you love me very very much." Presumably other cards read "Fill you anus with applesauce and learn kung fu" and "Every episode of House follows the same pattern... because of Jews."
Because of Jews.
Hey, did we mention that the rest of her medical advice amounted to "let me use your boner like a carnival ride"?
The patient's family filed suit against the doctor after the patient killed himself. And while the doctor conceded her treatment was "unconventional," she denied she did anything wrong. Presumably she then shat in a coffee cup and accused it of spying on her.
Vagina Reconstruction, of the Involuntary Variety
If a doctor ever promises to turn you and others into "horny little mice," you should probably just go home and take some Tylenol instead of spending any additional time with him. However, it seems a lot of people turned a blind eye to Dr. James Burt for a number of years, allowing him to perform reconstructive surgery on women's vaginas--which probably sounds like a perfectly normal thing for a doctor to do... until you realize the women didn't ask him to do it.
Burt even wrote a book called The Surgery of Love, in 1975, about the operations he performed on many women--without their consent. He was at least thoughtful enough to do it after the birth of children so he could explain away the stitches as a result of the delivery.
While he had them on the table he would tinker around with their anatomy, removing some things, even repositioning the vagina, urethra and alter the walls between the vagina and rectum in order to "increase sexual responsiveness." Again, why no one stopped him while he was cutting and probably muttering things like, "you're welcome, Mommy" is anyone's guess. Apparently if you're wearing surgical scrubs everybody just assumes you're on the level.
More often than not, the unwanted surgeries caused extensive damages and required additional surgeries to correct the problems. Twelve malpractice suits against the doctor were dropped over the years when other doctors he worked with refused to testify against him, presumably convincing the man his Frankenvaginas were totally kosher.
It's claimed he performed the procedure on around 2,000 women and when the Ohio State Medical Board finally caught up with him, they made him voluntarily surrender his license , a punishment which is known in legal circles as "bullshit."
Group Therapy for 120 Personalities
If you're a Hollywood screenwriter, or a horrible, horrible doctor, the most convenient of all mental disorders is multiple personality disorder. In Wisconsin, psychiatrist Kenneth Olson hit the motherload when he convinced a patient she had 120 separate personalities. And these weren't all just sissy personalities like "sociopathic killer" or "sexually promiscuous narcoleptic," either. She also had the personalities of a duck and the devil. Please take a moment to figure out which one you personally feel is more fucked up.
The doctor also admitted to having performed an exorcism on her, a course of treatment he thought necessary based on his diagnosis that she was a bride of Satan after having been ritually raped by upwards to 70 men and animals. After watching several reruns of Frasier, we're fairly confident this sort of mental health diagnosis is very rare.
We're sure Kelsey Grammar has a Ph.D. in something.
Faced with the daunting task of treating so many personalities, and lord knows duck psychiatry is a niche market, Dr. Olson did what any irresponsible doctor would: He charged all 120 for treatment and billed Blue Cross for $300,000. Inexplicably, after this, and performing an exorcism on the woman, the good doctor ended up in court where she won a $2.4 million settlement against him. However, if you feel yourself being tormented by devil ducks any time soon, Dr. Olsen still has a practice in Montana and will likely be happy to see to your mental health needs.
Look, we all admire MacGuyver. And we hope that when faced with some impossible situation in the future, we'll be able to cobble together a nice solution out of random shit we have lying around.
But you know who you probably don't want doing that kind of on-the-fly improvisation? The surgeon who's working on your spine. That's one case where you'd pretty much like them to have that shit planned out ahead of time, in some detail.
In 2001, Arturo Iturralde was supposed to have a pair of titanium rods installed in his back (perhaps as part of a slow transition into cyborg assassin). However, once his back was flopping wide open on the table, Iturralde's surgeon noticed that the rods were missing. Using quick thinking, the surgeon used the next best thing he could find: a screwdriver.
After a quick hacksaw job to cut off the handle (because, you know, the handle part isn't medically sound) he jammed the tool in Iturralde's back, presumably with a handful of finishing nails and some copper wire. Unsurprisingly, Sears doesn't make their screwdrivers medical grade and it snapped a few days later, forcing Iturralde to endure several more surgeries.
The next best thing.
The end result was the doctor and the hospital being on the hook for $5.6 million. Really, it sucks that the hospital had to pay, because how could they have known? Oh, wait, because the guy had already had his license suspended in two other states.
Donald Dudley claimed to be a doctor. He also claimed to be a member of the CIA and someone who controlled the entire world, which you will recognize as impeccable credentials if you are crazy. Since Dudley was himself crazier than a shithouse rat, he and his imaginary position with the CIA made him capable of treating a 30-year-old autistic man named Stephen Drummond who had a seizure disorder.
The actual King of the World.
As you might expect, part of his new therapy at the hands of Dudley was to get injected with sodium amytal, have part of his brain erased through the use of hypnotic suggestion and drugs that made him psychotic and delusional. That's just good old fashioned imaginary CIA doctoring right there.
But Dudley really set himself apart when he used his influence over Drummond to train him to be part of the doctor's army that would one day take over all the schools, hospitals and police. Likely this last part was not covered by insurance.
Donald Dudley's credentials
Dudley, whose medical license had been suspended after he was diagnosed as bipolar some years earlier, apparently had a long list of "experimental" treatments on his resume. He once instructed a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome to use martial arts and guns to relax. He was also once found by police in a hotel room with a 15-year-old boy and a small arsenal of guns. Oh, and he believed he was from another planet.
Gun Therapy worked for Hunter S. Thompson. Sort of.
The doctor died (or went back to his home planet) before he could be brought to trial for his malpractice. However insurance ended up paying $2 million to Drummond's family. Meanwhile, somewhere out there an army of rain men and really sleepy ninjas await word from their master to storm local hospitals.
For more Fortey, check out ScenicAnemia.com.
For more reasons to hate and fear doctors, check out 8 Terrifying Instruments Old-Time Doctors Used on Your Junk and 8 Medical Terms Your Doctor Uses to Insult You.
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks because the Doctors of the Internet can cure what ails ya.