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9 Foreign Objects Surgeons Often Leave Inside Patients

December 14th, 2017
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Hospital Negligence on Thursday, December 14, 2017.

Most people who undergo invasive medical procedures are well aware of surgical complications like hemorrhaging and clotting. These kinds of complications can arise in even the healthiest patients, and assuming their risk is merely part of undergoing certain medical procedures. But there are risks that patients should never have to assume during surgery, regardless of their current heath status. These include preventable complications that arise as the result of a provider or facility’s negligence.




Sadly, surgical mistakes and other medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, trailing behind just heart disease and cancer. One of the most common surgical errors–which also happens to have some of the most devastating consequences–is leaving foreign objects inside a patient.

According to CBS News, there were more than 750 reported cases of retained surgical items between 2005 and 2012. Of these incidents, 16 resulted in the death of the patient.

If you experienced serious health complications following a medical procedure and think a surgical error may be to blame, contact The Bowling Law Firm. David A. Bowling can assess your case to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have incurred. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney in Jackson.

What Kinds of Foreign Objects Do Surgeons Often Leave Inside Patients?

A surgical team might use more than 250 different kinds of instruments and tools during a single procedure. Tracking hundreds of items is challenging in even the best conditions, and since the operating room is such a high stress environment, it only increases the chances of a surgeon leaving something inside the patient.

According to ThoughtCo., some of the items that doctors most commonly leave behind include:

  1. Scalpels;
  2. Sponges;
  3. Towels;
  4. Drain tips;
  5. Forceps;
  6. Gloves;
  7. Surgical masks;
  8. Measuring devices; and
  9. Clamps.

Leaving any one of the above items inside a patient can have life-threatening complications. For example, if left untreated, a severe infection can develop that eventually leads to sepsis and even death.

Sadly, even patients who receive treatment for a retained surgical item can experience devastating repercussions. Emergency surgery, which poses life-threatening risks of its own, is typically required to remove the tool or instrument. Additionally, depending on the item in question and where it was left, doctors may have to remove some portion of a vital organ to free it, which will affect the patient’s bodily functions for the rest of his or her life.

If you or someone you love was the victim of a surgical error, your family’s financial security may be in jeopardy. The costs associated with both treating such an error and then living with the repercussions can be devastating. Fortunately, you may not have to cover them on your own.

The medical community considers retained surgical items “never events,” which means they should not happen under any circumstances. Thus, proving negligence in such a scenario is fairly straightforward, especially if you turn to a Jackson medical malpractice lawyer for guidance.

Contact The Bowling Law Firm to discuss your case and determine if you may have grounds for a claim. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a case evaluation. If you want to learn more about malpractice in Mississippi, visit the USAttorneys website.

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