Medical Errors, Past and Present

According to a complaint by Sizemore's family, anesthesiologists administered the drugs to numb the patient, but they failed to give him the general anesthetic that would render him unconscious until 16 minutes after surgeons first cut into his abdomen.

Tony O'Dell, the attorney representing Sizemore's family says the case is still in progress and no further details could be provided. However, Sizemore's daughters appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" in May to discuss their side of the case.

"Dad had said he said, 'You know I felt them cut me open, I felt that,'" his daughter, Sheila Dickens, says.

And this experience, his daughters say, turned Sizemore into a different man.

"There was something there that changed him so profusely that he was not the same man," says Lenoka Graham, Sizemore's other daughter. "He was scared to be alone, he had nightmares. ... [He] thought he was falling in a hole."

Raleigh General Hospital had no comment on the case when contacted.



Surgeons Leave 13-Inch Retractor in Patient

Donald Church, 49, had a tumor in his abdomen when he arrived at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle in June 2000. When he left, the tumor was gone -- but a metal retractor had taken its place.

Doctors admitted to leaving the 13-inch-long retractor in Church's abdomen by mistake. It was not the first such incident at the medical center; four other such occurrences had been documented at the hospital between 1997 and 2000. Still, such cases are uncommon; a press release issued by the hospital following publicity over the event estimated that such cases represent one in approximately 12,000 cases per year at the medical center.

Fortunately, surgeons were able to remove the retractor shortly after it was discovered, and Church experienced no long-term health consequences from the mistake. The hospital accepted full responsibility for the error and agreed to pay Church $97,000.

And in the seven years since the incident, notes the center's medical director Dr. Edward Walker, a number of initiatives at the hospital have significantly lessened the chance of future mistakes of this kind. In particular, the retractor incident spurred routine counting of instruments and sponges before and after all surgical procedures.



Fertility Clinic Uses Wrong Sperm

When Nancy Andrews, of Commack, N.Y., became pregnant after an in vitro fertilization procedure at a New York fertility clinic, she and her husband expected a beautiful new addition to their family.

What they did not expect was a child whose skin was significantly darker than that of either parent. Subsequent DNA tests suggested that doctors at New York Medical Services for Reproductive Medicine, the now-defunct Park Avenue clinic whose services they sought, accidentally used another man's sperm to inseminate Nancy Andrews' eggs.

The couple has since raised Baby Jessica, who was born Oct. 19, 2004, as their own, according to wire reports.

But the couple still filed a malpractice suit against the owner of the clinic, as well as the embryologist who allegedly mixed up the samples Oct. 14, 2005. In the suit, the couple accused the owner of the clinic and the embryologist of negligence.



Mix-Up Leads to Unneeded Double Breast Removal

Darrie Eason, a 35-year-old single mother on Long Island, N.Y., filed a lawsuit against a CBLPath medical laboratory earlier this month after a mix-up at the lab prompted her to have both her breasts removed.

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