Joan Morris (a pseudonym) was a 67-year-old woman admitted to a hospital for cerebral angiography. She had fallen and struck her head. Magnetic resonance imaging showed two large cerebral aneurysms. The interventional radiology service admitted her for cerebral angiography…caringlawyers.com, acpjournals.org, 13 Disturbing Cases of Medical Malpractice, The Wrong Patient

The day after admission, cerebral angiography was performed, and one of the aneurysms was successfully embolized. The second aneurysm was deemed more amenable to surgical therapy, for which a subsequent admission was planned.

After angiography, the patient was transferred to the oncology floor rather than returning to her original bed on the telemetry unit. Discharge was planned for the following day. The next morning, however, the patient was taken for an invasive cardiac electrophysiology study. Approximately 1 hour into the procedure, it became apparent that Ms. Morris was the wrong patient and the study was supposed to be done on someone else. The study was aborted, and she was returned to her room in stable condition; however, the potential consequences of the extra surgery performed included significantly increased risks of heart attack, stroke, internal bleeding and infections.

The case wasn’t widely reported but is considered to be one of the most disturbing accounts of medical negligence.

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Kayur V. Patel, MD, MRO, FACP, FACPE, FACHE, FACEP
KayurVPatel@ExpertWitness.MD