Denlea & Carton


June 28, 2022

5 Terrifying Medical Malpractice Cases That Will Shock You

Real-Life Examples of Surgical Errors and Medical Negligence in the U.S.

Medical mistakes happen every day. While many of them are relatively benign, some can be severe. In the most egregious cases, a doctor’s negligence can prove fatal. It can be easy to believe that these types of errors may never happen to you or a loved one, but unfortunately, they are more common than most people think.

At Denlea & Carton, we represent individuals who have been injured due to medical negligence and malpractice. If you or someone you love was injured by a surgical error, contact our office at (914) 873-1404 for a free consultation.

5 of the most shocking medical malpractice cases in the U.S. include:

1. Wrong-Side Brain Surgery

A hospital in Rhode Island was fined $50,000 after surgery was performed on the wrong side of a patient’s head for the third time in a year. According to NBC News, the wrong-side surgeries were performed by different doctors in 2007.

The first occurred in February when a doctor performed neurosurgery on the wrong side of the patient’s head. The second occurred in August and resulted in a patient’s death.

The hospital was ordered to take steps to prevent future wrong-side surgeries. Despite these two “never events,” a third surgical error occurred in November when a surgeon drilled a hole in the wrong side of a patient’s skull.

2. Wrong-Leg Amputated

In 1995, University Community Hospital in Tampa came under scrutiny after a surgeon amputated the wrong leg of a 51-year-old patient. As the Los Angeles Times noted, the infamous case involved Willie King, a retired, diabetic man waking up to discover the wrong leg had been removed. The incident, along with other medical blunders, led to the hospital being stripped of its accreditation.

3. Wide-Awake Surgery

73-year-old Sherman Sizemore took his life two weeks after being given too little anesthesia during surgery. The medication error resulted in him being wide-awake throughout the surgery but unable to move or cry out, according to a 2007 NBC news article.

A complaint filed by Mr. Sizemore’s family indicates that doctors failed to give him general anesthesia. To make matters worse, Sizemore was not notified that he was not properly sedated.

4. Foreign Object Left Inside Patient

A woman was awarded $10.5 million after a doctor left a sponge inside her. The foreign body went undiscovered for years and eventually resulted in her having to have her leg amputated.

The sponge was left in the body during bypass surgery in 2011. The vascular surgeon, according to reporting by the Courier-Journal, transected a renal vein causing massive bleeding. A nurse failed to do a sponge count before leaving for lunch resulting in the mishap.

5. Deadly Transplant Mix-Up

A tragic transplant mix-up at Duke University Hospital left a 17-year-old girl dead. As a 2003 New York Times article discussed, the girl died shortly after receiving an organ transplant.

The surgery was the second attempt to transplant the life-saving organs since the first surgery, only two weeks earlier, had involved the wrong heart and lungs. The initial heart-lung transplant involved the wrong blood type and resulted in them being rejected.

Contact a Surgical Error Attorney Today

Were you or a loved one injured by a surgical error? Contact our office at (914) 873-1404 for a free, no-obligation consultation. There are no fees unless we win. Call now to discuss your case with an attorney.


James R. Denlea

Jeffrey I. Carton

Robert J. Berg

Lindsey Leibowitz

Amber Wallace

John Leifert

Craig Cepler

Steven Schoenfeld

Stan Sharovskiy

Phil Smith

Martin McCann

Catherine Friesen

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