Surgical Implements Left in the Body

Surgical teams rely on many tools to help them safely do their jobs. However, in too many cases today, surgeons end up forgetting to remove all implements before sewing a patient back up. When implements are left behind, patients can suffer pain and possibly need to undergo a second, costly surgery. According to WebMD, leaving tools behind is more common than many people think. One study from 2013 found that roughly 110 people per year had a foreign object left in the body—and a true accounting would show many more. About 16 people died from these objects, and almost all had to extend their stay in the hospital.

If your surgeon left a foreign object inside you during surgery, contact a Miami medical malpractice attorney today. You could be entitled to compensation.

Objects Typically Left Behind

Some of the more common objects that surgical teams fail to remove include:

  • Needles
  • Sharp objects
  • Stapler parts
  • Towels
  • Surgical sponges
  • Clamps
  • Broken pieces from other instruments

These objects can press on nerves and other soft tissue, causing continuous pain. Sponges can also become infected, spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

Corrective surgery carries the same complications as all surgeries, including anesthesia problems, infection, and additional surgical error. These surgeries are also expensive, requiring more time to recover.

Why Surgeons Sometimes Leave Objects Behind

The operating room is a hectic place, with many people assisting the lead surgeon. Often, implements are left behind because of a breakdown in communication. One member of the team might believe that someone else has removed the implement when no one did.

Overweight patients are also at a higher risk of having foreign objects left behind. Given the patient’s increased size, it is easier for objects to become hidden by fat and other tissue.

Other hospitals lack standardized policies for accounting for all objects. For example, teams should count the number of sponges inserted and then count again when they are removed. Someone on the team must be responsible for documenting this information. If necessary, the team might also order X-rays or other imaging tests to look for objects left behind before completing surgery.

Contact Us Today

At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, we focus on patients’ rights when surgical errors injure them. These are not easy cases to bring, and doctors and hospitals vigorously defend themselves. To get the legal help you need, please contact a Miami medical malpractice attorney today by calling 305-371-2692. Our consultations are free.