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Medical Malpractice and Retained Foreign Objects After Surgery

By Norman Younker on July 16, 2018


Surgeons in an operating suiteWhen surgeons make mistakes, lives hang in the balance. That’s why its important to hold surgeons liable for any errors that have a negative impact on the lives of patients. One of the most unacceptable surgical mistakes involves leaving foreign objects inside of a patient after surgery is complete. This could mean gloves, forceps, and even scalpels left inside someone’s body. The effects on the internal organs can be devastating.

The Salt Lake City, UT medical malpractice lawyers of Younker Hyde Macfarlane want to explore these kinds of surgical errors in more detail, and help you understand your legal options.

How Common Are These Surgical Mistakes?

According to research published in 2012 by the medical journal Surgery, there were 9,744 “never” events during surgical procedures between 1990 and 2010. A “never” event is a surgical mistake that should never occur, such as operating on the wrong body part or performing surgery on the wrong patient.

Of these 9,744 “never” events, 4,857 involved leaving some sort of object in a patient after surgery. It’s estimated that “never” events occur roughly 500 times each year.

Common Objects Left Inside Patients After Surgery

Some of the most common objects that surgeons leave inside of patients include:

  • Clamps
  • Drain tips
  • Forceps
  • Guide wires
  • Measuring devices
  • Needles
  • Retractors
  • Scalpels
  • Scissors
  • Scopes
  • Sponges
  • Surgical gloves
  • Surgical masks
  • Towels
  • Tubes
  • Tweezers

Sponges are by far the most common item left in patients bodies.

Why Do These Surgical Mistakes Happen?

In most cases, poor communication is the main culprit for these kinds of surgical mistakes. That is why surgeons and others participating in the surgery must be on the same page at all times.

The Dangers of Foreign Objects Left in the Body

Having a foreign object in your body leads to a number of serious health hazards. This may include:

  • Pain and Discomfort - If an object doesn’t belong in your body, it can be the source of pain. This pain may be notable if you move or shift your body in a certain manner.
  • Punctures and Internal Wounds - If a scalpel or another type of sharp object has been left behind, it can potentially perforate internal organs and cause internal bleeding and many more serious problems.
  • Infection - If a foreign object came into contact with any bacteria before winding up in a patient’s body, the risk of infection after surgery is high. These infections can be deadly if they are not treated in time and if the object is not removed in a timely manner.
  • Organ Obstructions - The foreign object in a patient’s body can potentially become lodged against an organ, or lead to obstruction of an organ. Adhesions may also occur, resulting in organ blockages and other problems.

Keep in mind that symptoms for health problems related to foreign objects in the body may not show up until matters are grave.

Holding Surgeons Accountable

If you or someone you love has been harmed because of a surgeon’s negligent actions, our legal team can help. Medical malpractice lawsuits hold doctors and surgeons liable for their mistakes when these errors put patients’ lives at risk. We will seek damages to cover subsequent medical expenses while also punishing the surgeon for acting in such an irresponsible manner. Our law firm is here to help you.

Speak with Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers

For more information about your legal options following surgical errors and other types of doctor mistakes, contact our team of medical malpractice attorneys. The lawyers of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC will help you and your loved ones in your time of legal need.

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