Real stories: Medical mistakes and misdiagnosis, some causing death!

Some examples of medical mistakes and misdiagnosis come directly from the stories reported by doctors!
Some examples of medical mistakes and misdiagnosis come directly from the stories reported by doctors!

Everyone! A recent news article, Misdiagnosis Threatens Potentially Everyone[1], and the aptly titled article should cause us all to put our critical thinking caps on for a moment, consider that doctors are people too, and make mistakes. The recent study published in a medical insurance industry journal reports that nearly 12 million people who go to outpatient care clinics are given a false diagnosis.[2] While the numbers are compelling, many people are just fine and receive top quality medical care. The percentage risk of error, however, should cause people to pay attention, ask questions, seek second opinions and do their own follow up research.

Some examples of medical mistakes and misdiagnosis come directly from the stories reported by doctors! The following are a sample of a larger list collectively published on the Thought Catalog blog:

  • Overlooked Gunshot – “We didn’t find it till the chest x-ray.”
  • Misdiagnosed With Epilepsy – “As a very young doctor in training I misdiagnosed a woman with epilepsy.”
  • Guy Didn’t Know He Was Shot – “Scratch on his neck and “feeling drowsy”…turns out the “scratch” was an exit wound of a .22 caliber rifle round.”
  • Life Of A Pathologist – “He also got drunk at work a lot.”
  • Accidental Death – “As an ICU nurse, I’ve seen the decisions of some Doctors result in death. Families often times don’t know, but it happens more than you’d think.”
  • Oops – “I’m a nurse. I’ve given an anticoagulant (blood thinner) to the wrong patient.”
  • Dentist Blunder – “I was performing a simple extraction and preparing for the case when I didn’t realize that I had the x-ray flipped the wrong way the whole time.”
  • Glued Glove To Patient’s Face – “Anyone who has used derma bond before knows that stuff can be runny and bonds very quickly. I glued my glove to her face. Her mum was in the room, and I had to turn to her and say, “I’m sorry, I’ve just glued my glove to her face.””
  • Destroyed Ankle – “Patient here. A doctor tried to put an Ilizarov fixator on me, for limb lengthening, without proper knowledge or experience. He damaged the growth cartilage, dislodged my fibula and destroyed my ankle.”
  • Radiation Horror – “I worked in a radiology department in a trauma center and the amount of “redo” x-rays and CT scans we’d do to a simple careless error was mind boggling. Nobody seemed to care but I would cringe every time. So much needless extra radiation on some patients because the techs were lazy.”

We all wish it was not true, but medical mistakes and diagnosis happens. To learn more, read our blog article, Complex healthcare: Several factors contribute to medical mistakes and deaths

One focus of Michael V. Favia’s law practice is health law, which includes medical negligence/malpractice. He stays current on news and events involving healthcare and is a member of a few boards of advisors/directors including the Chicago Concussion Coalition (Sports Legacy Institute) and Health Leaders (National Center for Healthcare Leadership).

If you are interested in learning more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, serving Chicago and its suburban communities, please visit the Favia Law Firm website for resources and articles of interest. To contact the firm to speak to a lawyer about a healthcare-related concern, you may dial (773) 631-4580. For more information about the firm’s practice areas, you can also visit the firm’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Please “LIke” and “Follow” respectively to keep in touch!

[1] Guardian Liberty Voice: Misdiagnosis Threatens Potentially Everyone. By Lindsey Alexander, Apr. 20, 2014.

[2] Quoted in the Guardian Liberty Voice article cited above, “The study was published in the BMJ Quality and Safety journal.”