Top 10 Unbelievable Medical Malpractice Lawsuits


Being a doctor is stressful. In other jobs, you can make a mistake every now and then and be mostly OK. But, if you screw up when dealing with a patient’s health, even one measly time, your licence and wallet are in extreme danger. Especially if you muck up in a royally epic fashion that nobody will soon forget.

10. 200 Grand Over The Wrong Testicle


So, you’re just a normal guy, living an ordinary life, when one day you notice that one Johnny is smaller than your other Johnny. “Well, that’s not right” you say, and head over to your doctor, who fears the worst and calls it cancer. Crap. Now you’re life isn’t so ordinary. It’s okay though; the doctor has a solution. You can either get cancer and die, or just chop off little Johnny and live the rest of your “now-sort-of-ordinary” life. “Well, how much worse can it get?” you reason, before taking the latter option. It’s not like it’s the end of the world. So you wait for your hypothetical surgery without telling anyone, because the shame would hurt more than the loss of your friend.

But THEN, things take a turn for the terrible when you get back from recovery, and notice that they took the wrong “john”. Crap, now they have to take the other one leaving you to live a very-not-ordinary life.

What we’re trying to say is, how much would then sue the hospital for? Benjamin Houghton, an Air Force veteran, put it at $200,000. Talk about restraint; that’s approximately 4000% less than what we would have asked for.

9. Brain Surgery Can Suck


Okay, fine. But it’s not like losing a “Johnny” can hurt you. Other than cause a little embarrassment, you still have a life that’s relatively healthy. It’s not like they operated on the wrong side of your brain or anything, like those hacks at the Rhode Island Hospital. On three separate occasions (which is roughly three too many,) neurosurgeons at the hospital drilled into the wrong part of the head, and began surgery. Bear in mind, surgery on a working part of the brain is exactly as dangerous as it sounds. On two occasions, the resident realized his mistake and fixed the hole. Unfortunately, the other wasn’t so lucky. So, what punishment does a hospital face for such a terrible mistake? A paltry $50,000.

8. Legs Aren’t Important, Right?


Okay, so brains and balls, that’s where we’re at right now. Doctors do go to medical school, right? That’s, like, a real place they learn medical stuff at? So why do they keep screwing up which side to operate on? Take the story of Willie King. He made headlines back in 1995 when his surgeon cut the wrong leg off. This means that, whereas he would have had one leg before, he now has no legs. Apparently, the surgeon marked the wrong leg for procedure on all of his notes, and genuinely believed he was working on the right leg. King was understandably pissed and sued the doctor, as well as the hospital. Since this case read like a wet dream to any lawyer in their right mind, he won $1.2 million, and the surgeon lost his license. JUSTICE IS SERVED!

But only for 6 months. JUSTICE IS…meh.

7. Whoops, I Left My Thingy In You


Let’s take a break from doctors who can’t tell left from right, and focus on doctors who always lose things; more specifically, in your body. Doctors at the University at Washington medical center successfully removed a tumor from their patient, Donald Church (yay!) but left a 13-inch retractor in its place (boo!).  Doctors admitted leaving the device there; they just had no idea how. Church returned to the hospital complaining about chest pain, and the retractor was discovered in the subsequent x-ray. Doctors were able to remove it without messing up even more, and Church was paid $100,000 for his troubles.

6. Scissors Don’t Go There!


Okay, but a retractor isn’t dangerous. It’s just a metal…thing (what is a retractor? And don’t say “something that retracts,” Mr. Comedian.) Doctors in Lyons, France upped the ante, when they left a pair of scissors in a patient’s abdomen back in 2011. The woman, Anne, whose last name remains a mystery, complained of abdominal pain to doctors, who promptly ignored her and assured her it was normal to be in pain after a surgery. But then, she started coughing up blood, and that’s when doctors thought maybe they should listen to her. After a quick x-ray, it looked like doctors left a pair of scissors in her abdomen- a pair of scissors. Scissors.

So to summarize, they only paid attention to the woman after she started coughing up blood, which only happened after the scissors pierced her insides. The scissors that they left inside. That’s uh… terrible.

5. Who’s Your Daddy? No, Seriously. Who?


Some people tend to have trouble having kids. As depressing as that is, we have ways to solve it in the 21st century- mainly by in vitro fertilization. For people who aren’t scientifically inclined, this is when doctors take the egg and sperm, and try to make them make a baby in a lab, as opposed to in the womb. Now this leads to some hilarious misunderstandings, when doctors mix up the sperm or the egg. Of course, by hilarious, we mean terrible. A woman in Commack, NY was happy to learn that her in-vitro worked, and that she had a new baby. When it came out, it was darker than she was. Before the husband had a chance to freak out, they sued the clinic for screwing everything up.

4. What Do You Mean Screwdrivers Aren’t Medically Safe?


Arturo Iturralde is known for having an amazing name. He is also known for the $5.6 million lawsuit that he created against his hospital and won. Wow, $5.6 million is a lot, compared to the 50 grand from before. Arturo had a pretty crappy back, and was supposed to go to surgery and get some metal poles inserted. The theory was the poles would help support his spine, considering your spine takes on tons of pressure. So these poles would have to be pretty strong. Except, a few days later, Arturo began feeling more and more back pain. When he went back to the hospital, it was discovered that the surgeon misplaced the poles, and just stuck in a damned screwdriver instead. Understandably, the screwdriver snapped in half, and the hospital paid dearly for it.

3. Welcome To…The Sexxx Clinic (Of Rape)


This next one sounds like the intro to a porno about BDSM-obsessed doctors, except it has a terrifying end. Paul Lozano was a depressed man. He went to Dr. Margaret Bean-Bayog of Harvard Medical School, in order to seek treatment. What he didn’t know was that he was becoming another pawn in Dr. Bean-Bayog’s sadomasochistic lifestyle. She made him believe she was his mother, and that he was an infant. And then, when he came in for sessions, she would force him into BDSM and then into sex. The “treatment” left Lozano in the hospital many times and, eventually, he committed suicide. Later his family sued, and eventually were paid $1 million, and Dr. Crazy-Face lost her license.

2. Plastic Surgery Is Never The Answer


Dr. Reinaldo Silvestre was looked upon as a pretty decent plastic surgeon. He had his own practice, he gave women boob jobs, and he was living the life. Then a bodybuilder walked in, who wanted some new pecs. Despite “builder” being in his job title, he did’t want to wait and actually, you know… build. He wanted insta-pecs, and Dr. Silvestre was fresh out. Rather than order some, or do anything that normal doctors do, he scheduled the guy for surgery, and gave him a nice new pair of women’s breasts. The man was understandably pissed, and began a lawsuit against the doctor. It was then when it was discovered that he was less a doctor…and more “random guy in a building.” He didn’t have a medical license, and tended to use spatulas during surgery. Eventually he fled the country, but was dragged back via extradition, and was forced to pay $5 million.

1. “You’re a Witch, Doctor”


So of all the craziest ways to cure someone, we’d rank witchcraft pretty high up there. We all know witchcraft isn’t real, but apparently some people want to take the term “witch doctor” rather seriously. By people, we mean psychologist Dr. Letitia Libman who, in addition to being a doctor, was also very much involved with the coven. She would make her patients draw pentagrams, and get DNA samples for spells. While this sounds relatively weird, things took a turn for the crazy when she started having sex with patients, forcing them to get nude and practice self-mutilation. The patients were taken off the drugs, and instantly became suicidal. Eventually, lawsuit after lawsuit forced her to lose her license.

Mohammed Shariff can be found on Twitter.

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  1. Just randomly reading lists and found this one. Very interesting and I like how you write. Thank you.

    It’s quite horrible to read about these malpractices though. But otherwise, it’s a good lesson to look back to when you’re a doctor and making orders on a patient’s chart: Never make mistakes.

  2. Louis Alexandre Simard on

    Of course people do have kids in their fifty’s. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, one of Canada’s former Prime-Minister had a kid at 72. This is why I said the chances of reproduction were slim. I didn’t say they were non existent. Anyways it is a personnel issue and what I meant was that as organs they don’t serve any purpose outside reproduction and hormone production going into adulthood. For a man in his 40’s to loose them seems less tragic than loosing an arm or a leg. He can still have erection and ejaculate like a normal person. Part of his settlement probably included plastic surgery in the form of two aesthetically accurate testes.

  3. Louis-Alexandre Simard on

    As for number one. The victim is not the one who decided the amount he wishes to sue. This is decided by a judge and takes under consideration many factors such as psychological, physical and reproductive in this case. Before determining an amount the victim will have to undergo psychiatric evaluation to get a image of how affected he was. Second they will take into account that the loss of both testes doesn’t cause loss of mobility or general life enjoyment and third because as you said he was a air force veteran (55 years old or more) the chances of him wanting to reproduce in the future are slim. Taking all of this into account 200 000$ is an adequate sum. When I hit 60 years old I would gladly sell mine for that amount.

    • I plan to have sex well past that age…. He was in his 40s anyway, and I know people who have kids in the 50+ mark, and don’t rule out that it could be with younger women either. 200k isn’t enough for my boys

      • Louis Alexandre Simard on

        Loosing your testes doesn’t prevent you from having sex. As a matter of fact you can still achieve a regular erection and when climax is reached ejaculation will happen as 99.9 % of ejaculate doesn’t come from the testes who only produce the sperm not the seminal liquid. Testes are in no shape or form connected to that ability to have and maintain an erection. I ignore where you got your facts but that source should be thrown away.

  4. Left/right mixups happen very often, that’s why checklists were introduced. Losing both testicles might be sad, but imagine losing the wrong lung, when the other one is cancerous.

  5. Good lawd this makes me never want to have to go into a hospital. I’m in med school right now and eventually will be a Nurse Anesthetist. My job will be to mark what anatomical part to operate on and make sure the patient is fully asleep…..*gulp*

  6. Don’t be worried if a doctor or nurse writes something like, “This One!!!” on part of your body. It’s an important step that can save your eye/kidney/arm/leg/hand/foot/etc.

  7. Oh dear. I must be a terrible person, but I haven’t laughed this much since my mother-in-law fell into a septic tank! 😀 This list is like “Mr. Bean Goes To Harvard Medical School”, if they had ever made such a movie. All of these stories are horrible for the patients that these things happened to, but I cannot help but laugh… I’m so sorry…