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Most Shocking Medical Errors

Undergoing medical treatment of any kind can be a frightening experience. Patients have the reasonable expectation that their doctors and nurses have been adequately trained and will treat them with appropriately.

Unfortunately, medical errors are all too common. According to CNN, medical errors kill more than a quarter million people every year in the United States and injure millions. In fact Dr. Peter Pronovost, an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital, estimates that in total, medical errors are "probably the third leading cause of death" in the country.

A recent CNN article describes the 10 most shocking medical errors that can happen in hospitals across the country, which include:


  1. Treating the wrong patient. This medical error can result when a hospital fails to properly check a patient's medical records before treating a patient.

  2. Surgical instruments left in the patient as a result of a failure to properly account for all surgical instruments.

  3. Lost patients. Patients with dementia are sometimes prone to wandering and they can get trapped or subject themselves to dangerous situations if they leave safe areas.

  4. Fake doctors. Con artists have been known to pose as medical doctors and perform procedures that they are not qualified to perform.

  5. Excessive emergency room waits. Emergency rooms may find themselves without available beds and patients are subjected to unreasonable wait times that exacerbate an already serious medical condition.

  6. Air bubbles in the blood can be caused when a hole in a patient's chest isn't sealed airtight after a chest tube is removed.

  7. Operating on the wrong body part. These surgical errors can occur if a patient's chart is incorrect, a surgeon misreads the chart, or surgical draping obscures marks used to indicate the correct side of the operation.

  8. Spreading infection can occur when doctors and nurses fail to properly wash their hands before treating a patient.

  9. Mistaken medical tubes can result in chest tubes and feeding tubes used incorrectly with medicine intended for the stomach pumped into the chest.

  10.  Patient wakes up during surgery due to anesthesia errors.


Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have an obligation to provide adequate and appropriate treatment. When a healthcare provider commits a medical error, and the patient suffers injury as a result, the healthcare provider may be held liable for medical negligence. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish have many years of experience representing the victims of medical malpractice, and are committed to helping victims receive just compensation for their injuries.

Contact our office today at (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.

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