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What Can Happen When Surgeons Leave Objects Behind in Patients?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 12-Sep-2017

Victims of medical mistakes may not realize they have been hurt by an error until after they begin to suffer serious health problems. For example, patients who have surgical equipment left behind after a procedure may not notice anything is wrong until long after they have left the operating room.

Surgeons may leave behind surgical sponges, clamps, forceps or scissors inside of patients. In the medical community, these are called “retained surgical items.” According to the National Center for Health Statistics, items are left behind in one out of every 5,500 to 7,000 surgeries.

Retained surgical items may cause patients to experience several secondary health conditions. Infections are a very common complication created by retained surgical items. However, patients can also suffer severe pain, digestive problems, organ perforation and death. Some patients harmed by retained surgical items can lose parts of their intestines or other organs. In the worst-case scenarios, patients may lose their lives.

Depending on the circumstances, patients who survive these complications may have a reduced quality of life, including not being able to return to their former occupations. Many others will suffer from permanent health complications.

Are Retained Surgical Items the Result of Medical Malpractice?

Retained surgical items belong to a specific class of medical mistakes called “never events.” This term refers to medical mistakes that are entirely preventable and that should never happen. It is very likely that medical malpractice has occurred when surgical equipment is left behind inside of a patient. However, this also means that patients affected by these errors or their families could have legal options to pursue damages against the hospital.

The Washington DC medical malpractice attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC have decades of combined experience holding negligent hospitals accountable for medical mistakes.
Categories: Medical Malpractice
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