Surgical Screwups

Discussion in 'The Healthy Penis' started by D_Martin van Burden, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    Taken from AOL News...

    Man in 'Disbelief' after Penis Removed:

    Aug. 11 -- After 67-year-old Hurshell Ralls went into surgery for bladder cancer, he came out of surgery missing more than he ever expected. His penis and testicles were gone.
         
    "My wife had to hold my hand in the bed there. And she said 'Honey it's over. They got all the cancer.' And she waited a few minutes and then said 'But they had to remove your penis.' And I was one mad dude, you know," Ralls said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.
         
    Ralls, a mechanic, says doctors never warned him or his wife that amputation of the penis and testicles might have been part of surgery before he went in for the procedure in November 1999. Ralls filed a negligence lawsuit against the Clinics of North Texas in Wichita Falls, and the doctors who operated on him. The civil case is set for trial Aug. 25.      
         
    "It was never even discussed. And I felt like he ought to have at least told us that this might be a possibility so that we could have talked it over even before he was admitted to the hospital," said Thelma Ralls, his wife. In a February deposition, Ralls' doctor said that he determined the cancer had spread to the penis while he was removing Ralls' bladder. Doctors did not send a tissue sample to the lab until after the surgery. A Dallas doctor who examined cell slides later found that Ralls did not have penile cancer.      
         
    The Ralls' case may sound outrageous, but for cancer patients across the country, medical errors are something they and many other hospital patients face with alarming frequency.      
         
    The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported in 2001 that 95 percent of doctors have witnessed a major medical mistake, and that many of them involved cancer. When Johns Hopkins reviewed tissue samples from thousands of cancer patients around the country, they found one out of every 71 cases was misdiagnosed.      
         
    Both Breasts Removed, No Cancer

    Frank Barerra is another cancer patient who was the victim of an error. He was actually in surgery, about to have his prostate removed, when a call came from the pathology department there had been a mistake. His slides showed no cancer.      
         
    "You can imagine it was like waking up from a bad dream," Barerra said. "It never occurred to me that a pathology lab could just bungle a decision like that."      
    Last January, Good Morning America interviewed Linda McDougal, who was misdiagnosed with breast cancer. McDougal was given a double mastectomy at the United Hospital of St. Paul, Minn., in May 2002. After the surgery, McDougal was told that she actually had no signs of cancer.      

    "My surgeon walked in and said that she had bad news, and she had no other way of telling us other than to put it on the table. And that I didn't have cancer," McDougal said. "And my immediate reaction was, great, you got it all. And then she said, you don't understand. You never had cancer. And it was instant shock. I couldn't even react to it."

    When McDougal appeared on Good Morning America, the hospital that did the operation offered an apology. Dr. Laurel Krause, a senior pathologist at the hospital said that two patient slides at the hospital were inadvertently switched.      
         
    "We deeply regret what happened, and wish we had made that clear at the time," Krause said. "At the time, Linda was very angry, and justifiably so."      
         
    But to victims of medical errors, sometimes an apology can't make up for what they've lost.      
         
    "I really felt like they played God and took it in their hands and decided to do it," Thelma Ralls said. "This is Hurshell's life, and my life. And to me they destroyed our sexual life."      
         
    Understand Your Doctor
         
    Dr. Rache Simmons, a breast cancer surgeon with Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, said that there are steps that patients can take to protect themselves. First of all, patients should listen carefully to their doctors, and all of their options and recommendations. If you don't understand your doctor, get a new one, she advises.

    "Part of being a good doctor is being able to communicate with your patients," Simmons said. "If you don't understand your doctor, and you've asked him or her to explain it again and your still don't get it, find another physician."      
         
    Patients who are told they need surgery should also seek out a second opinion. It makes good sense, and almost all health plans will pay for it. If the opinions disagree, call your health plan and ask if they will pay for a third. If they won't go with your gut on whether to proceed with the surgery, Simmons said.      
         
    Once the decision is made, all patients should bring a family member or friend to a pre-surgical appointment to write down information and ask questions.      
         
    "I give out hand-outs and videos at my practice because, as a breast cancer surgeon, it's hard for anyone to be calm enough to take in all the information at the appointment," Simmons said.      
         
    Ready for the Worst      
         
    It is also important for patients to designate someone as their health care proxy before surgery, Simmons said. The patient-appointed proxy can carry out the patient's wishes while the patient is under anesthesia.      

    Before going into surgery, patients sign a consent form, which they should read very carefully before signing. The form will describe exactly what the doctor is allowed to do, and whether a doctor will be allowed to proceed if more serious conditions are found.      
         
    "It really boils down to a consent issue. So we as doctors can only do what's in the consent form," Simmons said.      
         
    Another important document that patients should consider is a living will, which can protect a patient's rights and wishes while they are under anesthesia, in case the unexpected happens. Doctors need to know what they should do in terms of extraordinary life-saving measures.  

    Copyright 2003 ABC News.  All rights reserved.
     
  2. Imported

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    prepstudinsc: I heard about that guy the other day on the radio. I understand that the doctor didn't want to take any chances, but I don't see why the doctor couldn't have just taken a penile tissue biopsy while he was doing the bladder cancer surgery and waited for pathology to come back with a definite answer, or even just go ahead and finish the bladder surgery and then go back in a few weeks and do the penile surgery IF it was necessary. There are so many medical screwups. It makes me scared to think about it. Being a funeral director, I've buried some people who have died because of doctor error, including a woman who died in childbirth due to an embolism caused by something wrong with her IV line. Luckily, the baby survived. The strangest thing about that whole funeral was talking to the husband's parents while making the arrangments....we found out that we were very, very distant cousins. Kind of bizarre. (not like McGriddles, however)
     
  3. jdoe86

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    I read about that and I just went blank. I could not imagine losing any body part, let alone my penis. I have have a few surgeries and lucky for me, none were lower than my elbow.
     
  4. Imported

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    gigantikok: I know this sounds somewhat superficial, but could u really live your life without a penis? I mean, would u really want to live without a dick? I guess life is life, and we would all chose to live regardless... but it just seems so terrible not to have a penis.
     
  5. Zot57

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    [quote author=gigantikok link=board=health;num=1060729545;start=0#3 date=08/15/03 at 02:48:05]I know this sounds somewhat superficial, but could u really live your life without a penis? I mean, would u really want to live without a dick? I guess life is life, and we would all chose to live regardless... but it just seems so terrible not to have a penis. [/quote]

    Women everywhere somehow manage it.

    But I certainly wouldn't want to

    --- Erik
    ::) ::)
     
  6. Imported

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    H8Monga: Maybe that's what happened to Michael Jackson... but he decided to go all the way with the operations...
     
  7. Imported

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    gigantikok: again you bring up MJ, Hapi! Lol, that's two times, count 'em, two times already.
     
  8. Imported

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    Javierdude22: -- Looks at posted date -- Aug. 11

    Todays date: August 29

    Hm....so it takes 18 days for that kinda news to reach Holland huh...damn...
     
  9. Imported

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    gigantikok: Guess it's a whole different world over there...
     
  10. Imported

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    Javierdude22: Yes it is quite a different place Gig...yes it is...you should check Europe out sometime....Salt Lake City - Amsterdam Roundtrip: 400 Euro's

    How do i know...?...i'm going on holiday to the Rockies next year...and i'm flying into Salt Lake City....Mwahahahahahaha!!!! <----- Evil Laugh

    Scary thought huh!?! :D :D

    Messing with ya dude

    About the nws, they picked it up just now cause its more sensational news, not really news in the traditional sense. So probably somebody tipped them off just now, to a small space in their 'Foreign' section
     
  11. Imported

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    gigantikok: Hope you enjoy Salt Lake. I've only been here a year, and I'm only finally getting used to it.

    Haven't been to Amersterdam, but don't think i am too ig'nant of the world and it's cultures. I was born in Peru, grew up in many parts of Africa, El Salvador, have visited France and many areas of Europe, and settled before graduating Highschool in the USA. Soooo, i'm not just some American stuck in a cultural bubble. ;)
     
  12. Imported

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    Javierdude22: That i did not know man. Cause of your dads work im guessing? Very very cool...
     
  13. Imported

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    sudas: In the U.S. it's very difficult to get rid of incompetent or malicious doctors. Other doctors won't or can't take action against their peers. Nurses won't do it.

    I know a nurse who was made sterile from a botched operation. She wouldn't act against her doctor- partly to protect her job, partly due to a forgiving attitude. She ended up adopting her first child.

    In our country their is a propaganda campaign to make people believe that malpractice lawsuits are wrong, or jury awards are too high. A number of people can't imagine suing someone for any cause; they feel it's only for crooks to make money.

    Some people do these things on purpose. There was a story recently about a doctor who branded his initials on his patient's uterus. I was shocked to read what they do to babies born with genital aberration (or of unusual size, which may not be the same). For instance, doctors insist that a large clitoris be cut. One story was about a baby born with a tiny penis and only one testicle. The doctor insisted it might be cancerous, and convinced the parents to allow a biopsy. He deliberately cut off the (non-cancerous) testicle. He said now the parents would have to raise their child as a girl. If I was the father, that doctor wouldn't have any testicles when I got through with him!
     
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