15 Times Doctors Mistakes Were Lethal

The majority of us are conditioned to accept doctors' and other medical experts' advice. And doctors are conditioned to always think they're right.

The majority of us are conditioned to accept the advice of doctors and other medical experts. These people have spent a fortune on many, many years of education, training, testing and then completed extended periods of practical experience before even being allowed to be let loose on the public so they must know what they are doing, right?

The thing is, many doctors and other healthcare professionals work long hard hours and are juggling multiple tasks at once while trying to evaluate and see to a patient's needs. You cannot always just blindly follow their advice and treatment plans; you need to be aware of what is happening, stay informed if possible, and speak up if you think something is wrong.

Some medical staff can become so used to over cautious patients that they treat everybody the same and fail to take notice of a parent's well-founded concern. Others feel they always know better than a patient and dismiss any concerns as ill informed opinions formed with the help of Doctor Google.

However, the vast majority of avoidable medical tragedies happen because doctors are human beings and make mistakes. Not that it makes it OK, but no doctor, nurse or similar professional gets up in the morning and decides to ruin someone's life.

Some names in this article, and minor details such as locations, have been changed to protect patient privacy.

15Just Give Her Tylenol

Nadia Gull was three years old when she started to feel unwell one day. The typically energetic, active, playful toddler developed cold symptoms, and a cough and her parents treated her at home, as most people would, until late that night Nimrat suddenly got much worse.

At 1:30 a.m. mom and dad took Gull to the hospital where they were told it was only a cold and not to worry. So, reassured, mom and dad returned home with their daughter.

By the next night, Gull was vomiting, and her parents returned to the hospital where x-rays and blood work were done, but doctors attributed the child's worsening condition to a fever and ignored her mother's fears when her daughter began to look blue.

Five hours after she was admitted Gull was dead. When the case was reviewed, it was evident from the x-rays she had a severe case of pneumonia and secondary infections had ravished her body. What is unclear is why nobody saw this until after her death and why she remained untreated until she went into arrest.

14Just Let Him Sleep

Little Mike Gomez was four years old when he was diagnosed with cancer. His treatment had begun, and during the time he was admitted to the hospital he had undergone a number of treatments.

This time around he was receiving chemotherapy which was delivered to his body in an intravenous saline solution. The solution was mixed on site in the hospital pharmacy by a new pharmacist, but he was fully qualified and under the supervision of a pharmacist with over 14 years experience. The pharmacy was very busy that day and the hospital's computer system was down, so all of the calculations for mixing of medicines was done by the pharmacists.

When the nurse administered the chemotherapy Gomez’s mother immediately noticed that he became subdued and appeared barely conscious but was told he was just sleepy, it was the same treatment he had received previously and not to worry. Within a short time, Mike Gomez was in a coma. Three days later he died.

The saline solution used was more than 20 times stronger than ordered and the high level of sodium chloride caused swelling of the brain which led to Gomez’s death.

13It’s Better To Wait, Trust Us

Any pregnant woman who has experienced abdominal pain knows how worrying it is and Rochelle Daniels was no exception. At 26 weeks gestation, she began suffering pains around her belly and went to her local emergency department.

At 1:15 p.m. Daniels was examined by an obstetrician and was discovered to be in premature labor. The obstetrician advised it would be better for the baby to be born in another local hospital that could provide a higher level of care and he arranged for a patient transfer.

Daniels was transported at 4:03 pm and when she arrived at the second hospital a placental abruption was immediately suspected. In under 30 min of her arrival, Daniels underwent an emergency cesarian, but her child was born with extensive brain damage due to the lack of oxygen, caused by the missed placental abruption.

12It’s Not That Big, Don’t Worry

Leslie Rankin was cared for by an obstetrician throughout her pregnancy. An ultrasound during her fifth month of gestation showed that her child measured large for its gestational age. There was no question about the gestational age being correct as previous ultrasounds had been within reasonable boundaries.

No testing for gestational diabetes took place, and no additional monitoring of the fetal growth took place. There were no plans put in place in the event of the baby proving to be extra large at the time of delivery.

Rankin went into labor at 40 weeks, and the delivery required the McRoberts maneuver which the maternal leg being pushed back and the baby's head being gently pulled. The child suffered a brachial plexus injury which has left her left arm shorter than the right. She cannot make a fist, her fingers are underdeveloped, and she has scars from operations that attempted to fix her problems.

11You Don’t Need Better Monitoring; It’s Fine

Susan King was admitted to the hospital when her membranes ruptured during her 32nd week of pregnancy. For ten days the situation was managed with a plan to induce labor at 34 weeks. On the morning of the induction, King went into labor before any intervention took place and by 9 am she was 6 cm dilated.

Staff were undecided if the mild decelerations in the fetal heart rate, that gradually became deeper, were significant or a result of an unreliable machine. No internal monitoring was done, despite Rankins' repeated requests for this to ensure her baby was ok.

By 12 pm Rankin was fully dilated, and she began pushing. The fetal heart rate monitor showed a rate of 190 bpm which was noted, but the doctor was not in attendance until the last half hour of labor and the baby was born at 2:47 pm.

Rankins' baby was born with brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen during birth.

10He Needs This Treatment

Ezequiel Chavez was born in November 2009 with a leak in his esophagus and other non-life threatening conditions which are routinely repaired. The day after his birth Chavez was operated on and underwent a second surgical procedure one month later.

Over the next 17 months, Chavez's doctor performed an additional 24 surgeries on the child including using the unproven technique of placing a stent in the esophagus.

In the last surgery, the doctor attempted to repair the esophagus with a suturing device which was not designed for this use, and he punctured the pulmonary artery.

Chavez was left with cerebral palsy and will need life long care.

9You Must Wait For The Doctor

Caroline Andrews had given birth to her first three children without problems in the hospital, and after seeing ads for the Brookwood, birthing center, thought it would be a safe place to deliver her fourth child in the natural environment she desired.

When she went to the hospital in labor, the nurse on duty said Andrews had to change into a gown, lay in bed and be attached to the monitors. As she began to push she got onto her hands and knees but two nurses wrestled her onto her back and because the doctor was not present, held the baby's head, in the vagina, for over six minutes until the physician arrived. The baby was born less than one minute later.

Caroline sustained nerve damage and has been diagnosed with Pudendal Neuralgia. Women with pudendal neuralgia may have pain in their buttocks, vulva, urethra, and perineum and suffer from pain during intercourse.

8This Medication Will Help

We trust doctors and other medical staff who recommend we take drugs not only believing them to be necessary but also trusting that the correct medications will be given.

Gloria Lescroart had just undergone an elective cesarean to deliver her baby boy who was deemed to be excessively large.

Following the successful surgery, Lescroart was given a medication designed to counteract any nausea she might feel despite the fact she said she felt fine and did not need any medication. Lescroart felt pressured into listening to the doctors and finally agreed to have the nausea antidote.

Instead of the nausea antidote, she was accidentally given a blood pressure increasing medicine which raised her blood pressure so much she had a heart attack and died, something that would not have happened if she had not been pressured into taking the drug.

7You Don’t Need A C-Section

When Chanel Ewing went to the hospital because she was experiencing less movement from her baby, the doctors were dismissive of her concerns. At forty weeks, they said, there was often a decreased level of movement because the baby had less room to move.

Ewing was admitted to the hospital, and her baby's heart rate was checked and considered normal. No ongoing monitoring took place, and little notice was taken of Ewing as she lay alone in a hospital bed.

Still concerned, Ewing insisted on monitoring and finally this was done. The continuous monitoring showed intermittent drops and rises in the fetal heart rate and nurses made a note of this but didn’t alert the doctors.

When Ewing insisted on seeing a doctor, the physician would not agree to a cesarean and said: “we’ll wait and see.” By the time the c-section was carried out Ewing's baby had suffered a brain injury that resulted in cerebral palsy.

6No, It Is Supposed To Go In The Spine

When their baby daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, Alister and Drew Hilton were as concerned as any parent would be but they did not worry about the level of care their little girl would receive at their local, specialist children's hospital.

After 18 months of treatment their daughter was declared to be in remission, but one year later her leukemia was back.

By this time, the Hiltons had become well versed in the treatments for their daughter and, like other parents, in their position, they knew a great deal about the drugs used and how they were administered.

When a doctor came to their daughter's room with a syringe full of medication to be injected into her spine, the parents asked what it was and were told it was vincristine. They told the doctor that the drug was usually administered intravenously but were advised that the doctor knew what he was doing.

Their daughter became paralyzed and died two weeks later. Vincristine is known to trigger catastrophic neurological damage if it is injected into the spine.

5Trust Us; It Is Routine

Naomi Pressey was born with a heart defect that although significant enough to require surgery, was considered relatively routine and easily repaired. After her birth, Pressey was transferred to the local children's hospital, and doctors there confirmed her diagnosis and scheduled surgery for three days later when she was four days old.

In the meantime Pressey was prescribed prostaglandin, a common drug used in these circumstances and her parents waited with her for the surgical repair.

When she was four days old, Pressey was prepped for her surgery, and a member of the hospital staff gave her the wrong dose of prostaglandin. The baby went into cardiac arrest on the operating table.

Extensive efforts were made to resuscitate Pressey, but it took 33 minutes during which time she suffered severe, irreversible brain damage.

4There Is No Need To Hurry, Relax

Melinda Holland was expecting her third child, and everything had been routine. Visits had been made to the same obstetrician who had cared for Holland during her last two pregnancies and deliveries, and she had no warning signs of any complications.

After going into labor, at term, Holland went to the hospital and explained she felt something was wrong. She knew all deliveries were different, but she felt the pain in her lower abdomen was excessive and that her doctor should be called.

Nurses told her it was normal to feel pain in labor and that there was no need to hurry into calling the doctor. At 6:19 pm a fetal heart rate monitor was attached to Holland and only a very faint, very slow heartbeat was detectable.

The doctor was finally called and performed an emergency cesarian. The baby was delivered at 6:47 pm but it was too late, the little boy had died. Holland had suffered a ruptured uterus and had likely been suffering from it before she even got to the hospital.

3It Is Just A Fever You Should Take Him Home

When Sied Kernick was 18 months old, his parents took him to their local hospital emergency room after he came down with a fever, became weak and his skin began to discolor.

The triage nurse examined the little boy and told his parents not to worry it was a run of the mill virus and that they should take him home. The ER was busy, and they would face a wait of several hours just for a doctor to tell them the same thing.

Kenrick's parents remained with him in the ER four five hours as he became sicker and weaker. His body became bruised, and when a doctor finally saw them, Kernick was diagnosed with Streptococcus A bacteria which had invaded his organs and blood. To save his life, doctors had to amputate Kernick's left arm, fingers on his right hand and both of his legs.

2It Is Safe To Leave Her Here, She’s In Good Hands

When Alicia Jean Coleman was born, she was three months premature but otherwise healthy. Unfortunately, at two weeks of age, she was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease which destroyed most of her intestinal tract.

After eleven months and 15 surgeries Coleman was home and, although she still needed intensive medical care, she was on the road to recovery.

One evening Coleman's mom was called into work for an emergency, and she arranged for her daughter to be cared for at the local hospital's respite care facility for the night.

Two hours later Mom received a phone call to say her daughter had suffered a major seizure and by the time she got to the facility her daughter was dead.

A medication designed to slow Coleman's bowel movements was administered to her chest tube instead of her feeding line.

1Wait And See How Labor Goes

Maggie Wilson was in her 41st week of pregnancy when her obstetrician decided to induce the birth. Wilson was admitted for the induction on a night when her obstetrician was not on duty, and after she was given misoprostol to induce labor she was sent home, despite her elevated blood pressure.

On the drive home, Wilson experienced strong contractions as well as discomfort breathing, vomiting, and elevated blood pressure. Upon returning to the hospital, she was admitted for active labor. Her cervix remained closed, and the fetal heart rate was 130/min, her membranes ruptured at 1:30 am and at 4:30 the medical team noticed an unusual pattern to the fetal heart rate. At the same time, the ob/gyn recommended Wilson was tested for pre-eclampsia, but this testing was never carried out.

After a failed forceps delivery an emergency cesarian was conducted, but the baby was already dead and had been for a short time, with the fetal heart rate noted actually being the mother's pulse.


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