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Instruments left inside of patients after surgical procedures

In hospitals across the nation, including Louisiana, there are patients awaiting surgery who have a habit of fantasizing about the potential worst case scenario. These individuals have heard numerous stories of surgical procedures going horribly wrong and surgical instruments being left inside of patients. Thankfully, these stories are often untrue, or they are so grossly exaggerated that many people will not give them any real consideration. However, there are times when these stories are not overly exaggerated or the work of an overactive imagination.

A woman in California was recently forced to undergo surgery in order to remove an item that was left inside of her after a previous procedure. The first procedure was an exploratory laparotomy during which a benign tumor was located and removed. After the surgery, the patient was discharged, but she continued to complain of severe pain in her back and abdomen. 

Nearly two weeks later, the woman went to the emergency room at Banner Lassen Medical Center in order to find the cause and hopefully a solution to her pain. During her emergency room visit, doctors discovered that a pair of eight-inch long forceps had been left inside of her abdomen. The patient was then forced to undergo another surgery to remove not only the forceps but also 18 inches of her small intestine. Her intestine had apparently become tangled with the instrument when they looped through the handle. 

For now, the lawsuit filed by the patient does not name a specific amount. She is asking for compensation for both her unexpected medical expenses and for the cost of future medical care required by her condition. Finally, the lawsuit is asking for compensation for loss of earnings, the loss of future earnings, and loss of comfort and support. 

Louisiana patients who have suffered injuries because of mistakes made during surgical procedures could benefit from speaking with a local attorney. In these cases, patients may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, or loss of income. If the surgical errors are determined to be directly responsible for a patient's death, then the family may also be entitled to compensation for funeral costs. 

Source:, "Susanville woman says forceps left in her after surgery at Shasta Regional Medical Center", Damon Arthur, Dec. 27, 2017

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