4 Famous People Who Have Been Involved in Medical Malpractice Cases
Even though doctors have historically been deemed to be some of the most intelligent society members, they are still human and they still make mistakes. There are an estimated 98,000 deaths that stem from the 1.6 million medical malpractice claims made annually. Medical malpractice is not limited to claims that arise out of mistakes made during surgery; it also involves mistakes with the prescribing of medication or types of therapy. These mistakes happen in all socioeconomic groups and they can change, or end, lives.
The beloved comedian, Joan Rivers, went for an endoscopy procedure on August 28, 2014, and passed away from complications of that procedure on September 14, 2014. A lawsuit was filed by Joan’s daughter, claiming unauthorized procedures were performed on Rivers, and alleging that one of the doctors who treated patients at the facility did not have the appropriate credentials or privileges to perform the procedures. The suit further alleges that the doctors who attempted to handle the emergent, life-threatening situation during the procedure were insufficiently trained, ultimately causing Rivers’ demise. The case is ongoing.
In 1997, singer Julie Andrews was experiencing minor difficulties caused by nodules on her vocal chords. She was told that surgery, followed by a six-week rest, would solve the issue, and so Andrews underwent the surgery. Much to her dismay, the surgery not only caused hoarseness, but it also caused permanent damage to her voice, leaving her unable to sing. Her malpractice lawsuit against the hospital was settled in a court in New York.
In 1998, the beloved SNL star needed to undergo double bypass surgery. When he did not improve after surgery and his chest pains continued, Carvey returned to the hospital to get an angiogram. This is where he discovered that the surgeon bypassed the wrong artery, and had to undergo surgery once again to repair the appropriate artery. Carvey filed a malpractice suit, which settled out of court for $7.5 million.
In 2007, actor Dennis Quaid’s two-week old twins were suffering from staph infections. The hospital treatment included a fairly standard dose of the blood thinning drug Heparin, but the twins each received an unfortunate dosage that was 1,000 times over what should have been given to them. The technicians in the pharmacy erroneously delivered adult concentrations of the drug to the pediatric unit, and the drug was administered twice within an eight hour span.
The infants had to be treated for an overdose while hospital staff lied to Dennis and his wife when they called to check on their twins. The truth was not discovered until the next morning at the hospital when Dennis and Kimberly were greeted by the risk management department. After being in intensive care for 11 days, the twins made a full recovery. A suit was filed for the cover up, for the error, and for botched media relations, resulting in a settlement of $750,000.