10 Worst Medical Blunders of All Time

For most of us, checking in to a hospital means surrendering to the professional efficiency of legions of white-coated doctors and nurses. We calm our nervous fears by assuring ourselves that the doctors have had years of training, and know exactly what they’re doing.

However, the people on the list below went into the hospital and, through some misfortune, were subjected to tragic medical errors that dramatically altered or ended their lives. Here are ten people who have the dubious honor of being subjected to some of the worst medical mishaps of all time.

Mary Cole

Mary Cole was only 66 years old when she died in a nursing home in Gastonia, North Carolina. She had been checked into Liberty Nursing and Rehabilitation Center due to her worsening symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. One day, she wandered into a storage closet, and was accidentally locked in.

Although the staff at the center noticed she was missing at that evening’s bed check, it took them four days to find her. By that time, she had pneumonia, and was severely dehydrated. As soon as she was found, Cole was transported to a nearby hospital, but she died a half-hour after arriving.

With Baby Boomers just beginning to hit their 60s and 70s, the issue of nursing home malpractice has never been more important.

Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock.com
Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock.com

‘Doctor’ Arthur Copes

Most people in the community of Baton Rouge knew Arthur Copes as the successful owner and operator of Scoliosis Treatment Recovery System Clinic. He operated the clinic for years, and advertised his special treatment system throughout the entire state of Louisiana. He claimed to have invented a back brace that would help heal cases of scoliosis, and had sold them to many different people.

In 2006, Copes was charged with 117 separate counts of insurance fraud and practicing medicine without a license. One of the ways that he swindled people out of money was charging them up to $10,000 for the back braces while falsely guaranteeing that their insurance company would cover a portion of the cost. He was ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution to several former clients, and was jailed for 3 years before beginning his 15 years of probation.

Image Point Fr / Shutterstock.com
Image Point Fr / Shutterstock.com

Nancy and Thomas Andrews

In 2007, Nancy Andrews took a vial of sperm from her husband Thomas to a Park Avenue fertility clinic in New York City in order to undergo in vitro fertilization. It was the only way that the couple could possibly conceive together, they’d been told.

The procedure was successful, and Nancy became pregnant. However, as soon as she gave birth, it became clear that the clinic had made a massive mistake. Their baby, Jessica, was born with distinctly darker skin than either of her parents, and carried features that are typically only found within the African-American population.

After doing several at-home DNA tests, it was revealed that Jessica was not biologically Thomas’s daughter. While the couple say that they love their daughter deeply, they filed a lawsuit for medical malpractice against the clinic who mixed up the sperm samples.

Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com
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