10 Incredible and Disturbing Medical Lawsuits Throughout History

Massive Medical Lawsuits Throughout History

It takes an unbelievable amount of time and hard work for medical doctors to finally be able to treat patients, and we hope that they are more than qualified. We put a lot of faith in our doctors, hoping that they are able to diagnose and treat whatever issues we might have. Doctors are certainly well respected given their qualifications and what they do, and more often that not, we can trust doctors. However doctors are still humans and mistakes can be made. These mistakes can range from not properly diagnosing a disease to messing up surgery. Obviously depending on the case, a mistake made by a doctor can often be life treating. These cases then lead to massive malpractice lawsuits where patients sue their doctors for millions of dollars. Here we take a look at ten of the largest and craziest cases of medical lawsuits throughout history.

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The case of Doctor Ingham bullying a patient

10. The case of Doctor Ingham bullying a patient

Have you ever wondered what doctors are saying about you whilst operating on you? Well a 48-year-old man in Virginia visited Doctor Tiffany Ingham at her practice for a routine colonoscopy. While he was being prepped for the procedure, the man (who has remained anonymous), decided to record the interaction for later purposes. Well it turns out that he left the recorder on during the procedure, and when playing the tape back at home, found out what the doctors were saying during the procedure. Apparently he found Dr. Ingham and others making a lot of jokes about him ranging from his weight to saying that they “wanted to punch him in the face”. He successfully sued Dr. Ingham and her practice and was awarded some $500,000 dollars.

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Daniel Stalker and the botched vasectomy

9. Daniel Stalker and the botched vasectomy 

A man from the United Kingdom by the name of Daniel Stalker had a lot of issues after he received a vasectomy. Stalker and his wife were expecting their fourth child, so they felt it was appropriate for Daniel to go through with the procedure. During the vasectomy, Daniel was in incredible pain and asked the doctor to stop. His doctor, Dr. Paul Dewart, urged him to go forward with the operation. Daniel eventually passed out from the pain, but it seemed as though the vasectomy was a success. However after the procedure, Daniel was still in pain, and had to get his testicle removed. He then experienced pain down there for 12 years, and finally sued and was eventually awarded £1 million pounds for his troubles.

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The case of Willie King and the wrong leg

8. The case of Willie King and the wrong leg

Willie King was just your average 52-year-old man from Florida that was living with diabetes. King began to notice some complications with his leg and went into the doctors to get it sorted. Now it’s not uncommon for diabetes to cause nerve and issues with blood circulation in the feet and legs. Typically the issues can be avoided, but unfortunately in Mr. King’s case he needed to have his leg amputated. The procedure went underway, and when he awoke from anesthesia, Willie found out that the doctors amputated the wrong leg. He sued the surgeon and hospital for malpractice and was awarded $1.2 million dollars in a payout.

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The case of Graham Reeves and the wrong kidney

7. The case of Graham Reeves and the wrong kidney

Graham Reeves was a 70-year-old man from the United Kingdom who needed surgery to remove one of his kidneys that was infected. While surgery on patients that are this old are more dangerous, it should have been a routine procedure. However not one, but two doctors looked at Mr. Reeves’s x-rays the wrong way and ended up removing his only working kidney. As his condition worsened, the doctors attempted to fix his infected kidney thinking it was the healthy one. However Mr. Reeves’ got even more sick, was placed on dialysis, and then later died five weeks later. The doctors in the case were eventually brought up on manslaughter charges, however the case was eventually dropped. Both of the doctors were suspended for a year however.

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"Doctor" Reinaldo Sylvester, a bodybuilder, and breast implants

6. “Doctor” Reinaldo Sylvester, a bodybuilder, and breast implants 

One of the more disturbing cases of medical malpractice revolve around a man by the name of Reinaldo Silverstre. During the late 1990’s Reinaldo ran and operated a plastic surgery practice in Miami, specializing in breast implants. One day a man named Alexander Baez came in seeking pec impacts. Baez was a bodybuilder and a former Mr.Mexico winner who wanted to enhance his physique. After undergoing surgery, Baez woke up to find that he had women c-cup breast implants not pec implants. It turns out that Silverstre had not only botched other breast implant procedures in the past, but that he was actually not a doctor at all. He forged medical licenses, gave patients animal tranquilizers, and even used kitchen knives for surgery. He fled the country after Alexander Baez came forward. Reinaldo was eventually founded in Belize working at another practice and was extradited to the United States. He pled guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

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The case of Laurence Ball and his "lung cancer"

5. The case of Laurence Ball and his “lung cancer”

Laurence Ball is former firefighter from England who went to the doctors and was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors told him that he had a tumor in one of his lungs, and it had to be removed otherwise he would die. The doctors successfully removed one of Mr. Ball’s lung, but there was one issue: he never had cancer. The doctors completely misdiagnosed his “cancer” and it turns out that they removed a completely healthy lung. Mr Ball is currently involved in a legal case over this disaster.

Photo Courtesy of the American Cancer Society via Getty Images

Dana Carvey and his double heart bypass surgery

4. Dana Carvey and his double heart bypass surgery

Dana Carvey is an American actor and comedian who is best known for his work in Saturday Night Live and for his portrayal of Garth in Wayne’s World. In 1997 he went into surgery for a blocked coronary artery, and had to receive a double bypass operation. Now these operations are very serious and no mistakes can be made. However after the surgery Dana continued to have heart issues and pain. Upon future doctor visits, it was revealed that the doctors performed the surgery on the wrong artery all together. He sued the surgeon for $7.5 million dollars, and the case was eventually settled out of court.

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Death by ketchup packets

3. Death by ketchup packets

A 36-year-old man was admitted to an assisted living facility in Phoenix, Arizona after sustaining brain injury from a car accident. His wife received a call one day that he had been vomiting and that she needed to come in and see him. He was eventually put on life support and then later passed away. During the autopsy unopened ketchup packets, paper towels, and plastic wrappers were found in his stomach and intestines. It’s not clear how they got there, but his family sued for neglect and was eventually awarded $11 million dollars.

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The case of Dr. Ricketson and the screwdriver

2. The case of Dr. Ricketson and the screwdriver 

A doctor by the name of Robert Ricketson was treating a patient named Arturo Iturralde for back problems. It was eventually decided that he needed back surgery, so Dr. Ricketson began the procedure. In the middle of the operation Dr. Ricketson ran out of titanium rods that are used in the spine for support, and instead used a common screwdriver. The screwdriver eventually broke in Arturo’s back which lead him to having to undergo more surgeries. Arturo eventually died from the complications caused by the screwdriver and his family successfully sued for $5.6 million dollars.

Photo from HomeDepot 

The case of an unborn child starved from oxygen

1. The case of an unborn child starved from oxygen 

In 1997 a young woman from Florida was in the hospital to give birth to her son. However something went amiss, and she was given way to many drugs, causing issues with the birth. It turns out that her unborn son was suffocating from lack of oxygen. He was born alive, but suffered extreme amounts of brain damage confining him to a wheel chair and causing him to be mute. After a lengthy court case, the woman and her child were awarded $31 million dollars.

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Written by Sebastian Hensiek

From Philadelphia, Sebastian is a fan of music, writing, art, and entertainment.


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