Medical mistakes: Patients' stories – Click through this gallery to see stories of ten patient cases involving medical mistakes. "Mistakes are happening every day in every hospital in the country that we're just not catching," says Dr. Albert Wu, an internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Treating the wrong patient – Kerry Higuera was given a CT scan of her abdomen even though she was three months pregnant. The hospital had confused her with another patient also named Kerry, who was actually supposed to get the scan. The needless imaging increased the risk that Higuera's unborn baby would get leukemia or have birth defects. Fortunately, her son, Nathan, is doing fine.
Surgical souvenirs – Nelson Bailey left surgery with a sponge still inside his abdomen -- a foot long by a foot long.
Surgical souvenirs – When doctors eventually discovered the mistake and re-opened his wound to remove the sponge, it was rotting and had created perforations in his intestines, Bailey says.
Lost patients – Nursing home patient Mary Cole turned up missing during a bed check. She was found four days later locked in a storage closet. She was severely dehydrated and died soon after. The family's lawyer says Cole, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, wandered into the closet and got trapped.
Fake doctors – Sarafina Gerling saw web advertisements by Arthur Copes claiming that his back brace treatment could straighten crooked spines. She thought Copes was a doctor who could correct her scoliosis.
Fake doctors – Gerling wore a brace from Copes for six months but her curves only got worse.
Fake doctors – Copes was eventually found guilty of insurance fraud.
ER waiting game – A long ER wait cost Malia Jeffers her limbs. Doctors had to amputate Jeffers entire left hand, fingers on her right, and both her legs after staff at an emergency department made her wait nearly five hours while a flesh eating bacteria rapidly spread through her tiny body. An ER nurse wrongly assessed Jeffers' condition as a less serious virus.
Air bubbles in blood – Blake Fought died in the hospital on the day he was scheduled to be discharged. He was sitting upright when a nurse removed his central line chest tube and covered the hole in his chest with gauze. Air entered the wound and formed bubbles in his blood that cut off blood flow to his major organs. Fought should have been lying down, and the nurse should have sealed the hole airtight.
Operating on the wrong body part – Jesse Matlock had a wandering right eye. A simple surgery could fix it, but the surgeon cut into the left eye instead of the right. According to Matlock's mother, Tasha Gual, the surgeon told her she lost her sense of direction and didn't realize she'd operated on the wrong eye until after the operation
Infection infestation – Josh Nahum fractured his skull and broke his leg in a skydiving accident. He was on the mend in the hospital when he caught an infection from the hospital. He died after doctors were powerless to fight the bacteria raging through his body.
Lookalike tubes – Alicia Coleman had a feeding tube in her stomach and a chest tube in her vein. A caregiver at a medical daycare mistakenly used the wrong tube and pumped medicine into Coleman's chest instead of her stomach. Coleman died when the medicine stopped her tiny heart.
Waking up during surgery – When Erin Cook had surgery to have an ovary tumor removed, she remembers going to sleep and then the searing pain of being sliced open. She felt trapped in her body, unable to move or speak. The hospital later informed her, she says, that a gas vaporizer was leaking during her operation and she got only 5% of the anesthesia she needed.