COVID-19 Notice: Block O'Toole & Murphy is fully operational in accordance with safety regulations provided by the CDC and local health officials.
Our attorneys continue to provide quality legal representation and are available to discuss your case over the phone, email, or video. Read more from our managing partners.
Block O'Toole & Murphy Block
& Murphy
Premier NY Personal Injury Lawyers

10 shocking, but common, medical errors

Any medical mistake can result in serious injury or fatality. Every day, hospitals, doctors and nurses must follow protocols and established standards of care to avoid the mistakes than can harm patients. To this end, hospitals are responsible for implementing policies that help to identify patient needs, prevent infection, and ensure that care properly administered. Unfortunately, in New York City and nationwide, common medical mistakes continue to haunt patient care.

Here are 10 common, but shocking, medical mistakes that have lead to malpractice claims:

  • Air bubbles. Air bubbles in the bloodstream can be fatal. If a patient's chest isn't sealed airtight after a chest tube is removed, a bubble can get sucked into the wound and cut off an air supply to the patient's lungs, heart, kidneys and brain.
  • Operation on the wrong body part. While this seems easily preventable, surgeons have often misread the chart or made improper marks to denote the correct side of the operation. Doctors and staff are responsible for maintaining and double-checking medical records.
  • "Doctors" who are not doctors. Just because a person says he or she is a doctor does not make it so. Patients should check independently online to ensure that their providers are properly licensed.
  • Deadly infections. If doctors or nurses fail to wash their hands, severe infections can be spread in a hospital environment. Nationwide, hospitals have implemented strict procedures to prevent patient infection.
  • Switching feeding tubes and chest tubes. While these tubes look similar, one is meant for air and one is meant for feeding. Switching tubes can result in serious and fatal injury.
  • Over- or under-anesthesia. An under-dose of anesthesia can leave the brain awake while muscles are frozen. Patients may be able to feel everything, including pain. Over-anesthesia can result in permanent brain or organ damage.
  • Emergency room patients being ignored. When hospitals, and therefore ERs, become overcrowded, patients with urgent needs can be overlooked and suffer serious consequences.
  • Misidentification of patient. Improper record keeping and negligence can result in treatment of the wrong patient. Before every procedure, staff should check your name, date of birth and the barcode on your wristband.
  • Forgetting surgical equipment. If the staff miscounts or fails to account for equipment used inside a patient during an operation, tools left behind can result in severe injury, infection, or death.
  • Lost patients. Nursing home patients or patients being treated for dementia or brain injury can be prone to wander. This could result in falls, hypothermia or other accident. Doctors and hospitals are responsible for keeping track of patients, especially those with dementia or brain injury.

Source: CNN, "10 shocking medical mistakes," John Bonifield, Nov. 5, 2012

Speak with a Qualified New York Injury Lawyer Today

Fill out our short online contact form for a FREE, immediate case review, or call us locally at 212-736-5300 today. The lawyers in our firm work on a contingency basis, so we do not collect any money unless we win your case.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Firm Awards and Honors

These are some of the publications and organizations that have recognized our firm and individual attorneys for excellence.

Learn More
Block O'Toole & Murphy - Listed in Best Lawyers - Linking Lawyers and Clients Worldwide Best Lawyers - Best Law Firms - U.S. News The National Trial Lawyers - Top 100 Trial Lawyers Super Lawyers Million Dollar Advocates Forum Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum Irish Legal 100 Martindale-Hubbell - Peer Rated For Ethical Standards and Legal Ability New York Magazine - Top Verdicts & Settlements New York Law Journal - NAACP Frances Pope Memorial Foundation - Love. Support. Hope. St. John's University - School of Law St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Expertise - Best Workers Compensation Attorneys New York City 2020
Call Block O'Toole & Murphy Today For Help - 212-736-5300

What can we help you find?