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Medical Malpractice

Famous Examples of Medical Malpractice

By February 16, 2021March 14th, 2024No Comments

Like any profession, healthcare providers make mistakes from time to time. Unfortunately, these mistakes can result in very serious health problems for patients, and if particularly egregious, these medical malpractice incidents can make a provider infamous.

Medical malpractice is a serious issue, not only in Spokane but all across the globe. If you are a victim of medical malpractice, our attorneys at Gilbert Law Firm can help.

Let’s start by taking a look at some famous and tragic examples of medical malpractice that you may have heard of. (After all, almost 41 percent of people believe that an error occurred in their care, according to the University of Chicago.)

Jesica Santillan

Lifesaving operations are often quite complicated, but one would expect that the team of healthcare professionals administering the procedure would double check fundamental issues, like matching blood type. 

Jesica Santillan was a 17-year-old girl who required a heart and double lung transplant. Although her physicians at the prestigious Duke University Hospital found some organs, they failed to notice that she and the donor had incompatible blood types.

After discovering the mistake, her surgeons were able to find some matching organs and perform a second transplant 11 days later, but by then, young Jessica was unfortunately brain dead. 

Duke University Hospital and the Santillan family reached an undisclosed settlement. But there was some good that came out of this tragic case. The United Network for Organ Sharing now uses at least two people to perform multiple blood-matching checks for each donation, ensuring that the terrible accident that happened to Jessica will not happen to anyone else.

Bryan Mejia

Bryan Mejia was born without arms and only one leg. The staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center did not cause the birth defects, but they did fail to discover them despite performing three ultrasounds. 

Bryan’s parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit under Florida’s wrongful birth statute that allows parents legal recourse if they would have aborted a child if they had known of its disability. 

The Mejia family was awarded $4.5 million from their gynecologist, as well as an undisclosed amount from St. Mary’s Medical Center. Again, the results of this case led to a severe change in practice across the U.S. It is now standard practice in these organizations to identify each limb in every sonogram.

Joan Morris

Joan Morris was a 67-year-old woman who was admitted to the hospital for a simple brain scan. 

After the test, she was returned to the wrong room. As a result, she underwent an unnecessary heart surgery. Luckily, the mistake was discovered one hour into the procedure, and Morris suffered no serious injury, although the incident did tragically raise her risk of heart attack, infection, stroke, and internal bleeding.

Julie Andrews

The iconic Broadway musical and film star Julie Andrews developed non-cancerous nodules on her vocal cords in her 60s. She elected to have them surgically removed at Mt. Sinai Hospital in 1997. 

The two throat surgeons who performed the procedure botched it, leading to hoarseness, vocal cord damage and other issues. In 1998, Andrews’ husband publicly announced that the famed singer would probably never be able to sing again.

Although the terms of the settlement with the two surgeons and Mt. Sinai Hospital have never been released to the public, the loss of Julie Andrews’ singing is unfortunate for the entire world.


You can learn more about Attorney Bill Gilbert’s experience with medical malpractice cases in the video on our Results page. And if you suspect that your physician is guilty of medical malpractice, contact us as soon as possible. The personal injury lawyers at Gilbert Law Firm can help you get the justice you deserve.

Lawyers who listen.

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