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The Troubling Trend of Surgeons Leaving Equipment in Patients

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

Rockford medical malpractice lawyersWhen a person goes to the hospital to get surgery for an illness or injury, they assume the doctors, nurses, and surgeons taking care of them will do their job with caution and attentiveness. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A recent study from Johns Hopkins shows that over 250,000 individuals die every year in the U.S from medical errors. Other studies suggest that the number of individuals killed by medical mistakes is closer to 440,000. One medical error which occurs startlingly often is the unintended retention of foreign objects (URFOs) during surgical procedures.

Surgical Items Left Inside Patients Bodies

Alarmingly, it is not unheard of for patients to discover that a surgeon or other medical professional left a piece of medical equipment inside their body. Leaving surgical instruments in a person’s body after invasive procedures can cause serious illness and even death. The type of object left in the person’s body and the length of time it was retained are the main factors that determine the severity of this error.

In some cases, retained objects are discovered immediately after a surgical procedure through an X-ray or during a follow-up. Other times, the foreign objects left in a patient’s body are only identified after the patient seeks medical attention for unexplained pain. The most common objects which are left inside patients include:

  • Needles;
  • Sponges;
  • Towels;
  • Small device components;
  • Broken pieces of equipment;
  • Laparoscopic trocars, catheters, and guidewires;
  • Forceps, clamps, screws, plates, and staples; and
  • Other surgical instruments.

Health Complications and Other Consequences of Retained Foreign Objects

Foreign objects left in a patient’s body after surgery can cause serious pain, inflammation, infection, bleeding, ileus, abscess, obstruction, intestinal perforation, gastrointestinal fistula, and death. Individuals who experience the horrific ordeal of having a foreign object left in their body often accumulate expensive medical bills and miss work. Damages in a medical malpractice case often include financial damages like these as well pain and suffering.

Contact a Rockford, Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney for Help

If you or a loved one have suffered due to the carelessness of a medical professional, contact the experienced Winnebago County surgical errors attorneys at Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS. We offer free consultations and only take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only have to pay legal fees if we win your case. Call us today at 815-215-7561 to schedule your cost-free, confidential case assessment.

 

Sources:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html

https://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/6/SEA_51_URFOs_10_17_13_FINAL.pdf

 

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