Received the wrong heart and lungs, then died17-year-old Jésica Santillán died 2 weeks after receiving the heart and lungs of a patient whose blood type did not match hers. Doctors at the failed to check the compatibility before surgery began. . After a rare second transplant to attempt to rectify the error, she suffered and complications that subsequently hastened her death.
Santillán, a Mexican immigrant, had come to the United States three years before to seek medical treatment for a life-threatening heart condition. The heart-lung transplant that surgeons at Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., hoped would improve this condition instead put her in greater danger; Santillán, who had type-O blood, had received the organs from a type-A donor.
The error sent the into a comalike state, and she died shortly after an attempt to switch the organs back out for compatible ones failed. The hospital blamed human error for the death, along with a lack of safeguards to ensure a compatible transplant. According to reports, Duke reached an agreement on an undisclosed settlement with the family. Neither the hospital nor the family is allowed to comment on the case.
A $200,000 testicleIn yet another case of a wrongful operation, surgeons mistakenly removed the healthy right testicle of 47-year-old Air Force veteran Benjamin Houghton. The patient had been complaining of pain and shrinkage of his left testicle so doctors decided to schedule to remove it due to cancer fears. However, the veteran's medical records suggest a series of missteps -- from an error on the consent form to a failure on the part of medical personnel to mark the proper surgical site before the procedure. The error, which took place at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, spurred a $200,000 lawsuit from Houghton and his wife.
A 13-Inch souvenirDonald Church, 49, had a tumor in his abdomen when he arrived at the in Seattle in June 2000. When he left, the tumor was gone -- but a metal retractor had taken its place. Doctors admitted to leaving the 13-inch-long retractor in Church's abdomen by mistake. It was not the first such incident at the medical center; four other such occurrences had been documented at the hospital between 1997 and 2000. Fortunately, surgeons were able to remove the retractor shortly after it was discovered, and Church experienced no long-term health consequences from the mistake. The hospital agreed to pay Church $97,000.
An open heart invasive procedure... on the wrong patientJoan Morris (a pseudonym) is a 67-year-old woman admitted to a teaching hospital for cerebral angiography. The day after that procedure, she mistakenly underwent an invasive cardiac electrophysiology study. After angiography, the patient was transferred to another floor rather than returning to her original bed. Discharge was planned for the following day. The next morning, however, the patient was taken for a open heart procedure. The patient had been on the operating table for an hour. Doctors had made an incision in her groin, punctured an artery, threaded in a tube and snaked it up into her heart (a procedure with risks of bleeding, infection, heart attack and stroke). That was when the phone rang and a doctor from another department asked “what are you doing with my patient?” There was nothing wrong with her heart. The cardiologist working on the woman checked her chart, and saw that he was making an awful mistake. The study was aborted, and she was returned to her room in stable condition.
The Fertility Clinic that used the wrong spermWhen Nancy Andrews, of Commack, N.Y., became pregnant after an in at a New York , she and her husband expected a beautiful new addition to their family. What they did not expect was a child whose skin was significantly darker than that of either parent. Subsequent DNA tests suggested that doctors at New York Medical Services for Reproductive Medicine accidentally used another man's sperm to inseminate Nancy Andrews' eggs.
The couple has since raised Baby Jessica, who was born Oct. 19, 2004, as their own, according to wire reports. But the couple still filed a against the owner of the clinic, as well as the embryologist who allegedly mixed up the samples.