A great deal of attention can be drawn by a hospital or medical provider when a serious medical error occurs. In some cases, medical mistakes are minor, causing nothing more serious than inconvenience or a slight amount of discomfort. However, some such errors can result in death or severe disfigurement.
Surgical errors include anesthesia problems, surgery done in spite of misdiagnosis and wrong-site operations. In an unusual case, a 73-year-old minister suffered a case of anesthetic awareness. In this type of situation, an anesthesia error can cause a patient to experience the full amount of pain and sensation during surgery. In this man's case, the trauma was so extensive that he took his own life two weeks later. A wrong-site surgery involving amputation could be debilitating as in the case of a 52-year-old man. The wrong leg was removed, an error that was not discovered until mid-surgery. The surgeon as well as the hospital paid sizable amounts of money, and the surgeon was subject to a license suspension for several months.
Medical errors can also occur in medical treatments and diagnostics. For example, a woman dealing with infertility discovered that her husband's sperm was not used. This became clear when the child was born with a different racial makeup than the parents. A cancer diagnosis could lead to major treatment decisions, including harsh drug therapy or major surgical actions. If the diagnosis is later found to be incorrect, an individual might be faced with long-term physical or emotional challenges because of an unnecessary treatment.
In cases involving obvious errors such as wrong-site surgery, medical malpractice action might not be necessary because of a facility's willingness to settle. However, some instances of medical errors could be less obvious, in which case investigation of records might be a starting point for verifying facts. A lawyer could be helpful in either case.