Did you know that by stopping to ask a set of 19 simple questions before operating, such as "Do we have the right patient?" and "What operation are we performing?", a surgery team can reduce deaths under the knife by more than 40%? It's an astonishing fact, and just goes to show that disastrous medical complications are caused by negligence as much as fateful circumstance - and these following surgeons are the most careless of them all!
Going under the knife is a daunting prospect on its own, so if you're booked in for surgery in the near future, I cannot recommend you continue reading this article. Trust me on this.
As you'll soon find out, waking up to discover a needle is stuck inside your body, your nose has been hacked off, or - perhaps worst of all - your dick has been removed, are all very real possibilities. These are some of the most excruciatingly horrific surgical mishaps in medical history...
1. Mistake causes patient to poop through his penis
Patient: Joseph Swain
Operation: Reverse Colostomy
This brings an entirely new meaning to the 'Dick Poop' Oscar blunder. God knows what Joseph Swain did in a past life to deserve having to excrete feces via his wang. Even before this happened, he wasn't having the easiest of times, recovering from diverticulitis - a condition that requires part of your colon to be removed.
After an initial colostomy (which basically involves having your poop diverted to a handy little bag), the surgeons set about kindly reattaching Swain's now-healed colon to his anus. However, Joseph must've seriously pissed off one of the attending surgeons, because they didn't reconnect the colon to his anus; they stapled it to his bladder instead.
If it's not already clear what happened next, Swain started shitting through his urethra. Other than the obvious fact that this excruciating fecal exit strategy would suck IMMENSELY, Swain was put at great risk of infection. He spent an entire two weeks living through this special kind of hell, until finally the doctors righted the dong. As expected, Swain tried to sue, but the surgeons claimed it wasn't their fault and happened as a result of his condition! Looks like they had a bad case of denialitus.
2. A routine nose job goes horrendously wrong
Patient: Vishal Thakkar
Operation(s): 22 nose jobs
Recent divorcee Vishal Thakkar was looking to get back on the dating scene, keen to impress with a brand new, perfectly symmetrical set of nostrils - so naturally he contacted leading plastic surgeon, Dr. Angelo Cuzalina.
After the first routine op, Thakkar began having trouble breathing properly, retuning to the doctor for some slight adjustments. Turns out that Dr. Cuzalina was less Michelangelo and more Hodor in the face-sculpting department. 22 procedures later, Thakkar's nose had pretty much been entirely hacked off, left with a collapsed nostril constructed of cartilage from his ear and ribcage.
Thakkar now has to keep his uni-hole propped open with a plastic straw, or else his nose will cave in and suffocate the poor man. As expected, he's suing for this outrageous disfigurement.
3. Man has his penis chopped off for no reason at all
Patient: Hurshell Ralls
Operation: Partial Cystectomy
Yep - every man's worst wince-inducing nightmare came true for the incredibly unfortunate Hurshell Ralls. The 67-year-old went under the knife to remove a cancerous tumor from his bladder, and it worked: Ralls awoke cancer free! The only catch? He was totally penis-free, too.
Mid-way through the procedure, the surgeon decided to scoop out his manhood in order to prevent the cancer from spreading, which on the surface seems semi-reasonable. However, neither Ralls nor his wife were ever informed that this could be a possibility, and certainly weren't approached for consent before the dick-execution began.
And here's the worst part: the surgeon never actually bothered to check whether the cancer had spread to his reproductive organs. Later on, a tissue sample was taken from the severed penis and was found to be 100% cancer free Yep, Ralls was stripped of his wang for no medical reason at all!
4. Sixteen surgical Items were left inside this man's body
Patient: Dirk Schroeder
Operation: Radical Prostatectomy
Dirk Schroeder, a 74-year-old cancer patient, underwent surgery in Germany to remove the tumor that was killing him. However, in a sick and twisted turn of events, Schroeder ended up leaving with more than he came in with.
During his recovery he started to report excruciating pain, before one of his nurses spotted a gauze pad seeping its way out of a wound. It was later discovered that the surgeons, mistaking Schroeder's vivisected body for a garbage bin, had left no less than 16 items inside the man! The bloody haul included part of a surgical mask, a freaking needle, and a roll of bandages. Granted, I never went to medical school, but I'm pretty sure they're supposed to go on the outside.
What's even more shocking is the way the doctors responded, going so far as to accuse the cancer patient of wolfing down the objects himself. They simply refused to accept any responsibility for the treasure trove of miscellaneous crap lying in his abdomen, suggesting it'd most likely gotten there sometime after the operation. Hospital food isn't great, but it's not bad enough to inspire a quick midday munch on a needle!
5. The doctors started surgery without anesthetizing the patient, who continued to feel everything
Patient: Sherman Sizemore
Operation: Exploratory Surgery
This nightmarish scenario straight out of a Hostel movie is a fate I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. Sherman Sizemore from West Virginia went through a living hell when he suffered from a rare phenomenon called anesthesia awareness, which occurs in an estimated 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of operations involving general anesthesia in the US. For an idea of what this entails, watch this short yet harrowing clip from the movie Awake:
Due to an inadequate amount of aesthetic administered, Sizemore was able to feel every incision during surgery, though remained unable to move or communicate what was happening to any of the doctors who were busy exploring his innards. I can't possibly imagine the excruciating amount of pain he was subjected to.
The experience was so traumatic, Sizemore tragically committed suicide shortly after. His family sued for damages.