- A case of misdiagnosis - a doctor in fails to recognize cardiac tamponade in an old man and the lack of diagnosis and proper treatment causes his death.
- A case of delayed diagnosis - a medical professional's delay in diagnosing a bowel obstruction and the delay causes the patient's death.
- A case of childbirth injury - an obstetrician doesn't perform a C-section in a timely manner, causing serious harm to the baby.
- A case of medication error - a psychiatrist causes a fatal overdose of medication due to negligence.
- A case of anesthesia error - a patient is brain damaged due to an anesthesiologist giving the wrong amount of anesthesia to a patient.
- A case of surgery error - a patient receiving permanent scarring caused by a surgeon with a bone saw.
- A case of involuntary commitment - a psychiatrist detaining and drugging a mental health patient without consent or lawful excuse.
The above example cases of medical malpractice can give you food for thought when considering legal action against a medical professional or healthcare provider. Following are a few famous examples of medical malpractice cases and their court verdicts.
3 Famous Medical Malpractice Case Examples and Their Verdicts
Medical malpractice cases become famous, either because of the persons involved, or because of the unusual circumstances of the case. Here are some of the most notable malpractice cases that have happened in the past.
- Michael Jackson's Medical Malpractice Case
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson’s sudden death seemingly occurred from out of nowhere. After an extensive autopsy investigation and toxicological, it was found that Jackson died due to a number of drugs in his system, including narcotic pain relievers, muscle relaxants and antidepressants.
Dr. Conrad Murray – Michael Jackson’s personal physician - was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter of the death of Jackson, but was not pursued for civil medical malpractice damages.
A jury found Dr. Murray guilty of his crimes, and he received four years in prison, the maximum allowable sentence for involuntary manslaughter. His medical licenses in Texas and California were revoked, and he was ordered to pay $100 million in damages to the Jackson family.
- Joan Rivers' Medical Malpractice Case
In 2014, comedian Joan Rivers went to Yorkville Endoscopy complaining of a sore throat. Rivers, having a history of acid reflux disease, agreed to undergo a laryngoscopy and an endoscopy to examine her vocal cords and her upper digestive system. Following was a series of medical errors leading to the swelling of Rivers’ vocal cords causing them to close and being unable to breathe. The doctors failed to notice her vital signs were rapidly deteriorating for at least 15 minutes before she went into cardiac arrest due to lack of oxygen. She died seven days later after being taken off life support.
Rivers’ daughter, Melissa, filed a malpractice suit in 2015 against Yorkville Endoscopy and any other doctors that were involved in the incident. A settlement was reached a year later, with the doctors accepting full responsibility for Rivers’ death.
Dr. Lawrence Cohen, the medical director of the clinic, stepped down from his position, and Yorkville Endoscopy was found to have numerous violations and irregularities during the investigation.
- Elvis Presley's Medical Malpractice Case
Presley died suddenly at age 42 on August 16, 1977, citing heart disease as the cause of death. However, it was later discovered that traces of 14 prescription drugs and depressants were in Presley’s system at the time – which may have contributed to his death. The toxicology report showed numerous psychotropic drugs, including diazepam (Valium) and barbiturates/sedative-hypnotics.
As a result, Presley’s personal physician Dr. George Nichopoulos was charged with prescribing drugs to Presley in an indiscriminate and negligent manner, but a jury found him innocent of the charges.
Nichopoulos would come under scrutiny for the following decade, with accusations of over-prescribing drugs continued through his career. Finally, in 1995, his medical license was revoked when the Board of Medical Examiners found him guilty of gross malpractice and misconduct involving 13 different patients.
What You Need To Prove A Medical Malpractice Case
Although these medical malpractice case examples are quite notable, all instances of medical foul-ups are serious and should be fully investigated by an attorney and medical malpractice investigator. In consultation with your attorney you should consider hiring a private investigator trained and experienced in medical malpractice cases. Search our directory for a private investigator.