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Surgical Horror Stories

A recent article published by entitled, “The Six Most Horrifying Ways Routine Surgeries Have Gone Wrong” recounted six terrifying tales of patients who went under the knife never expecting the horrors that awaited them at the hands of their trusted doctors. Below are just a few of the unfortunate incidents listed in the article.

The first story recounted the tale of one, Joseph Swain, of Delaware. According to Cracked, he “underwent surgery for a reverse colostomy.” The ABC article linked in the piece stated that a colostomy is “a procedure that shunts fecal matter away from the rectum and into a bag attached to the patient’s body.” Swain underwent the colostomy because he had diverticulitis. This is “a condition in which a hole forms in the side of the colon.” Reversing the colostomy then is “[r]eattaching the colon to the rectum.” The intention of reversing the colostomy was for Swain’s bowel function to return to normal.

But things did not quite work out that way. According to his lawsuit, his doctors “improperly stapled the colon to the bladder” during the reverse procedure. This caused him to start “urinating feces and discharging urine from his bowels.” Swain was in agony for two weeks before seeking medical attention at a different hospital. He had to go through several more surgeries “to correct the problem”. ABC reported that “[t]he attorney representing doctors involved in the case maintains that the complication was not a result of medical error, but just an unfortunate consequence of the colostomy reversal.” The ABC news article that reported on Swain’s case ran in November of 2007. It is unclear how the case was resolved.

Another surgical nightmare occurred to Vishal Thakkar of Oklahoma. He felt his nostrils were misaligned and went under the knife to give his nose a “minor tweak”. According to the ABC article linked in the Cracked story, Thakkar saw a number of different doctors before deciding to go with Dr. Angelo Cuzalina. After his first surgery Thakkar was “happy with the appearance of his nose.” But he soon “developed breathing problems that sent him back” to Cuzalina. Thakkar had eight surgeries in 2006 and 2007. However, the surgeries did not correct his breathing problems and he wore “nostril-stretching tubes during non-work hours for four years.” Finally in 2011, he went back under the knife hoping to resolve the issue once and for all. He again chose Cuzalina who had performed all the prior corrective surgeries for free and didn’t charge Thakkar for the 2011 surgery either.

However, things just got worse. Thakkar had another 14 surgeries between, all performed by Dr. Cuzalina. During the surgeries, “[m]etal implants and cartilage plucked from his ears and rib cage were used as stand-ins for his thinning nasal tissue . . . before a string of infections led to the eventual ‘amputation.'” Thakkar filed suit against his former doctor, accusing him of “leaving him ‘grossly deformed, with his nose amputated’ and in ‘indescribable, intolerable pain.'” It is not clear if the lawsuit has been resolved or is still pending.

To read more surgeries gone wrong, click here.

Stories like this remind us that doctors can and do make mistakes. If you or a loved one has been a victim o medical malpractice please do not hesitate to contact Gilman & Bedigian today.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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