6 Shocking Medical Mistakes Involving Celebrities

We all have to go see the doctor every now and then, and celebrities are no exception. Sometimes, however, we forget that our physicians are human and do (on occasion) make mistakes. Just because someone has a lot of money, does not exempt them from the blunders made by the doctors in which they entrust their care, and sometimes those errors can prove to be fatal. In some instances, however, they are not deadly mistakes, but enough to make the patient want to get some sort of relief out of the situation and end up suing the organization that caused the mistake in the first place. When a patient dies, it is up to the family whether they want to sue the business that caused the death of their beloved. Medical malpractice lawsuits happen quite often; yet, according to a study in 2001 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “medical malpractice plaintiffs win only 27% of trial cases.”

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6 Hulk Hogan

Terry Gene Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has had a successful public career spanning over three decades. He was first seen on television as a professional wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation, now known as the WWE. Hulk Hogan has made several television, movie and commercial appearances over the years, and has even opened a restaurant and made several attempts to market ideas to the public. He was the first man in history to win two sequential Royal Rumbles, the first one in 1990 and the second in 1991. Terry has also been involved in charity work; including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Special Olympics and American Diabetes Association, just to name a few. He has been requested to appear almost more than any other celebrity.

According to reports, Terry had severe back pain and was planning on having “traditional” surgery to alleviate the problem. Instead, he was referred to Laser Spine Institute, where he did receive relief, but it was only temporary. They apparently did not tell him that it would not cure or permanently fix the issues he was having, and Terry was unable to work for over a year and a half. They also used Hulk Hogan’s likeness to advertise for the company without his knowledge. Terry opened a lawsuit in 2013 for damages.

5 Julie Andrews

The award-winning actress and singer, Julie Andrews, is the original Mary Poppins. She is known for her beautiful singing voice used in the movie, as well as playing the lead role in The Sound of Music. She has been in multiple movies and Broadway shows, and has based almost her entire career on her singing voice. In 1997, Julie found out that she had a non-cancerous tumor on her vocal chords, and decided to have surgery to have it removed. She was told that she would be able to sing again, and have a fully functioning voice, six weeks after the surgery. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case and two years later, she still could not sing. Julie ended up suing the hospital that performed the surgery, and is believed to have settled the lawsuit out of court.

4 Dana Carvey

Comedian Dana Carvey got his first big break when he started appearing on Saturday Night Live. Since then, he has made multiple movies and lent his voice to animated shows. For several years, Dana kept having chest pains and received numerous surgeries to try and fix the problem, but to no avail. In 1998, the comedian endured a double bypass to try and fix the problem. After the surgery, he went in for an angiogram and discovered that the surgeon had actually “bypassed the wrong artery” during the previous surgery. It was heartbreaking for Dana, especially when having to explain to his wife and children what might happen if he did not recover. Dana finally had a fourth angioplasty done (with a different cardiologist), where the previous surgeon’s mistakes were repaired.

Dana Carvey now eats healthier and tries to reduce his stress levels, but was unable to work much during that difficult period. He had constrained blood flow to his arteries, which were causing the chest pains. Dana filed a lawsuit against the heart surgeon who first performed the surgeries and won a large sum, since he was unable to work because of the mistake that was made. According to the Associated Press, Dana donated all of the money to different charities, including ones that participate in heart research.

3 John Ritter


We first saw John Ritter as the adorable, yet goofy actor on Three’s Company, back in the late 70s. He was known for his humor and his physical comedic acts. John also acted in several movies, and was the voice of Clifford, from the children’s television series of the same name. While filming 8 Simple Rules, the last television show John was in, he suffered from an aortic dissection, and ended up passing away on September 11, 2003.

An aortic dissection is when there is a tear in the main artery, and is very similar to a heart attack. John’s doctors had previously thought it was a heart attack, and there was nothing done about the tear in the artery. According to reports, John’s aorta was enlarged, and the doctors apparently missed this when doing a cat-scan, two years prior to his death. They told him to do a follow-up visit with a cardiologist (as he also had high cholesterol), but John did not do that. The doctors also did not order any x-rays, as they were convinced that John was having a heart attack and not an aortic dissection, as he did not say that he was in “excruciating pain,” and there really was not enough time to do so.

After a month of proceedings in court, the doctors involved in John Ritter’s case were found “not at fault.” There really was nothing that could have saved his life, other than going to the follow-up with the cardiologist; as had been suggested two years prior to his death. His wife has since created a foundation to raise awareness of the disease, so people will know more about it, and it has saved a few lives in the last couple of years.

2 Joan Rivers

The outspoken, late Joan Rivers had a career in Hollywood that spanned almost fifty years. She got her “start” on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Twenty years later, Joan became the first woman in history to have her own late night talk show, The Joan Rivers Show, in which she earned an Emmy Award. Joan eventually went on to publish a dozen books and comedy albums, and eventually became the host of Fashion Police (along with her daughter), and was still doing television work and selling jewelry and clothing, prior to her death.

On August 28, 2014, Joan went in to have throat surgery in an outpatient clinic. It should have been “routine,” as it was a simple procedure, but due to Joan’s age, people tend to believe that it was a mistake not having the surgery done in a hospital, instead. According to the Washington Times, Joan suffered a heart attack during the throat surgery and ended up on life support. On September 4, 2014, Joan Rivers died at 81 years old, from complications. It is unclear whether or not her family will be pressing charges against the clinic that performed the surgery, or the hospital where Joan was transferred to, if at all.

1 Michael Jackson

During the 1980s, Michael Jackson reigned as “The King of Pop,” selling over 100 million records over his career and having the best-selling album of all time, Thriller. Michael had belonged to 39 charities, even setting a record in Guinness World Records for the “Entertainer Involved in the Most Charities,” and won dozens of awards for his music. He created several dances; including the Moonwalk, in which Michael named, himself. Michael Jackson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984 and in 2007, Michael was quoted as saying, “Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever."

On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died after announcing a “come back tour,” a few months beforehand. After two autopsies, Michael’s death was ruled a homicide, due to so many drugs that were found in his system at the time he died. According to People magazine, there was a trial that lasted five months, over the allegations of Michael’s promoters and doctors causing his death. Michael’s family lost the case against Michael’s promoters and doctors, and they will not receive any settlement from the lawsuit.

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