The 5 Most Ridiculous Screw-Ups In Recent Medical History
Nobody wants to hear the words "We made a mistake" -- not from your mechanic, not from the guy fixing your computer, and especially not from your doctor. But medical mistakes do happen, and there's not really anything you can do about it. If you're one of the unlucky ones to fall victim, pretty much the best you can hope for is that your experience makes for an entertaining story. Like these poor saps.
A Plastic Surgeon Recorded Mid-Surgery Rap Videos With Her Unconscious, Undressed Patients
Marketing departments have to work really hard to get those elusive millennials to buy their soda, or car, or cosmetic surgery. That's why Atlanta-based dermatologist Dr. Windell Boutte (pronounced, we're not joking, "boo-tay") decided to record rap videos advertising her service to the web. That's awkward, sure, but not illegal or anything... until she started using knocked-out patients as props.
One video even showed Dr. Boutte making incisions on a patient's backside as she performed the song "Cut It." Shockingly, this did not produce the greatest results. The patient in the "Cut It" video (who never consented to being recorded) said the surgery left her "disfigured," while another patient described their results as "like Freddie Krueger cut my stomach." In one sad story, a patient who went in for some Botox and got talked into a liposuction had a cardiac arrest after eight hours of surgery without general anesthesia, ending up with permanent brain damage.
"Dr. Booty" had her license suspended for at least two and a half years. We're not sure what she'll do to get by in the meantime, but if reality TV doesn't come knocking, there's always politics.
One Hospital Kept Leaving Large Instruments Inside Patients For Five Years
Back in the late '90s, the University of Washington Medical Center had a problem: They kept misplacing surgical tools. The good news is that they eventually found them. The bad news is that they found them inside people.
First a clamp was left in a patient in 1997, then the same thing happened with two cardiac retractors (basically giant tongue depressors for pushing your guts out of the way during surgery) over the next few years. We're not talking about some little tweezers here; both of those instruments can be over a foot long. Then, in June of 2000, doctors left a 13-inch retractor inside a man after removing a 13-pound stomach tumor, in what sounds an awful lot like some kind of Raiders Of The Lost Ark-style switcheroo.
After that incident, staff decided to prevent this from ever happening again by using a technique called "actually counting all the retractors before and after surgeries." Finally, the era of mistakes for U of Washington was ov- ohhh wait, the exact same thing happened the next year. Twice. No more cases have been reported since then, presumably because they ran out of instruments and have been operating with their bare hands.
A Hospital Declared A Man Dead When He Was Clearly Alive, Refused To Double-Check
In 2014, a 46-year-old man went to DeGraff Memorial Hospital in Buffalo after a heart attack and was pronounced dead an hour later. The next day, he was pronounced dead again. See, when the man's wife went to see his body, she noticed something off about it -- namely, that he was looking at her, breathing slightly, and moving his limbs. So only mostly dead, which is slightly alive.
Understandably bewildered, the woman asked doctors to come in and make sure she wasn't delusional, but they simply refused to give him another once-over. In what must have been some kind of slapstick routine, one doctor wouldn't even put a stethoscope on him. When asked by the wife why he was still very clearly breathing, the doctor replied that he still had a "lot of life to expel out of his body," which sounds somewhat less than medical to our novice ears. When the coroner came to pick up the body, he noticed the same thing, testifying in a deposition that the reason he knew something was off was that, in his expert opinion, "dead people don't move."
The doctor finally gave in to the woman's silly demands about "checking to see if my husband is still alive," and found that, lo and behold, the man had a pulse. Ultimately he did pass away for real a day later (like, really for real), but according to a medical malpractice suit that is still pending, that might have had something to do with the fact that the hospital was treating a clearly breathing person like a zombie for three hours.
A Hospital Randomly Decided A Cancer Patient Was A Drunk And Blamed His Symptoms On Drinking
Frank Tetto showed up at Saint Clare's Hospital in New Jersey afraid he was suffering from jaundice. When asked how often he drank, Tetto mentioned taking a glass or two of wine a day. Before leaving the hospital, he received two pieces of bad news: 1) he had pancreatic cancer, and 2) he was a lousy drunk.
His discharge papers listed "alcohol abuse" as a diagnosis, and stated that Tetto "admitted to drinking daily," which isn't exactly a fair way to describe having wine with dinner. So either the doctor misheard him or he decided to just rush through some last-minute paperwork before clocking out.
Figuring it was an honest mistake, Tetto wrote to the hospital, and they quickly changed the diagnosis to ... jaundice caused by "episodic drinking" -- aka having five or more drinks in one sitting. No mention of his cancer, the actual reason behind the jaundice. Maybe they were afraid he would turn to the bottle again if he saw such a heavy word on the papers?
Even after months of arguments and insisting that he wasn't and had never been a drunk, the hospital still wouldn't budge. It was only after Tetto hired a lawyer and spent $7,000 in legal fees that the hospital agreed to cleanse his file of any reference to his drinking "problem." Ahh, another hopeless alcoholic successfully rehabilitated by medical science!
An Indian Hospital Gave A Man His Own Freshly Amputated Leg To Use As A Pillow
Ghanshyam, an Indian school bus driver, had flipped over his vehicle while swerving to avoid a herd of cattle, probably saving the lives of several children (and more importantly, cows). When his family heard that the lower part of his left leg had to be amputated, they rushed over to visit him. But once they got to the hospital, they saw that he still had the leg.
It seems some lateral-thinking staffer needed something to raise Ghanshyam's head and settled on his newly amputated leg, and no one around said, "Hey no, that's fucked up." The family claims they begged the hospital for a pillow but were ignored, leaving them no choice but to transfer Ghanshyam to one of those fancy private hospitals where the bedding materials don't include human flesh.
Once images of this innovative cost-cutting method spread all over India and beyond, the hospital owned up to the incident and suspended the doctors on the case, as well as a couple of nurses for good measure. Now they're hoping no one notices the cotton pillow they accidentally sewed to some other guy's leg stump.
These doctors shouldn't even be allowed near a game of Operation.
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