One of the most egregious mistakes that doctors can make is removing the wrong body part or organ during surgery and, as a result, leaving the patient in dire medical condition. Sadly, although this seems like the kind of mistake that should be easy for medical professionals to avoid, it still happens somewhat frequently, to date.
Just look at one recent incident involving a doctor who mistakenly removed a patient’s kidney. The surgeon reportedly agreed to pay a fine after removing the patient’s kidney he mistakenly thought was a tumor. While he and other surgeons were reportedly supposed to perform a procedure on the patient’s back, the doctor was convinced that her healthy kidney was a cancerous tumor, and decided to remove it, without first receiving a second opinion, medical consensus, or even the patient’s consent. And if that isn’t shocking enough, the doctor also admitted that he did not even review the patient’s medical records before performing surgery.
He was sued by the patient for medical malpractice and settled the case; however, all reports indicate that he is still out there practicing medicine and operating on patients, and simply has to attend “three hours of training on preoperative patient evaluation” and pay the State Board of Medicine a $3,000 fine as a result of his significant mistake.
What Else Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice does not have to involve something as outrageous as operating on the wrong side of the body or removing a perfectly healthy organ: if medical standards are not followed and this results in injury to a patient, a medical malpractice claim can result, and this includes failure to diagnose and seemingly negligent oversight and lack of action.
In fact, of late, there have even been calls that one doctor’s decades of purposeful sexual abuse of patients should also be deemed medical malpractice; and what about other health professionals who turned a blind eye to this harmful behavior? What about the hospital where these health professionals work—aren’t they somehow negligent in their oversight of these professionals? A number of juries have, in fact, found hospitals to be vicariously liable and guilty of acting with malice by allowing doctors to perform improper or medically unnecessary procedures on patients, as well as procedures done without first obtaining the consent of the patient. And it isn’t just doctors and hospitals that are sued: One woman recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against an ambulance, town, and EMTs when she suffered injuries as she was being transported from her home to the hospital.