The sickening truth is that medical malpractice lawsuits are common because doctors make life-altering mistakes all the time. That’s only natural, because we all make mistakes. Should we pay for them? Of course. The problem with medical malpractice is that you won’t always know that it’s happened! You might only realize there’s a problem months or even years after a routine operation, and by then the statute of limitations might have elapsed.
When you read about medical malpractice in the paper or see a case on the nightly news, it mostly looks different. Remember the epic of Dana Carvey? Doctors bypassed the wrong artery, called the incident an “honest mistake,” and then were sued to the tune of $7.5 million.
In 1995, 52-year-old Willie King underwent surgery for an amputation — during which a doctor amputated the wrong appendage. The most shocking part of the story? The doctor was only fined $10,000 and his medical license was only suspended for six months! The doctor and hospital were sued for $1.2 million. Can you imagine giving that doctor a second chance?
Many studies have concluded that patients routinely wake up during surgery due to incorrect anesthesia dosage. Sherman Sizemore went in for surgery, but came out a psychologically damaged man. He was conscious for sixteen minutes after the first incision was made. The 73-year-old committed suicide two weeks later. What kind of nightmares might that experience have led to?
We saved the best worst case for last. Medical malpractice is common, but is it so common that a mistake could be repeated? Apparently. Rhode Island Hospital surgeons performed similar operations on the wrong side of patients’ brains not once, not twice, but three times. An MSNBC report explained that one surgeon drilled into the wrong side after reading scans that showed bleeding on the opposite side. The same year, another patient died weeks after the same mistake was made.