We have all heard of medical malpractice and medical mistakes, and while these types of cases may seem like a nightmare, there are often instances of even worse nightmares: when foreign objects are actually left inside a patient’s body after surgery. While most surgeries go without incident, there are times when a patient may leave the hospital with a foreign object inside their body.
Research has revealed that anywhere from 4,500 to 6,000 incidents involving foreign objects being left in the body happen every year in the U.S. If you are a victim who had a foreign object left inside your body after surgery, you should speak with a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney.
Various Objects May be Left Behind in Surgery
The kinds of surgical tools and instruments used during a single surgical procedure can vary greatly depending on the kind of surgery that is being performed and the extent of the procedure.
Sometimes it becomes difficult to keep track of the tools and equipment used during surgery, and an item can be misplaced – or left behind inside the body of the individual.
Some of the more common objects that are left inside a patient during surgery include needles, drain tips, towels, forceps, scopes, guide wires, scalpels, sponges, scissors, gloves, tubes, and surgical masks.
Needles and sponges are the two most common objects left inside a patient. Unwanted objects are more likely to be left inside the abdomen, chest cavity, or vagina.
Why Are Objects Left Inside b Patient During Surgery?
There are numerous reasons for surgical instruments to be accidentally left inside a patient. Usually, technicians or nurses are expected to keep track of surgical tools and sponges.
However, human error can be a major factor, and incorrect counts can happen because of a chaotic setting during a surgical emergency or because of staff being fatigued and overworked. There are several contributing factors to increase the risks associated with an object being left behind.
Several factors can affect the likelihood of an object being left behind, including unexpected situations that may occur during a surgical procedure, if the patient has a high mass body index, if the patient requires multiple procedures, if the procedure leads to greater blood loss, or when more than one surgical team is needed for the procedure.
What Happens When an Object is Left Inside the Patient?
Often when an item is left inside of a patient, it can be harmless, but at other times it can have fatal consequences. Sometimes a patient may go months – or even years – before they realize there is a problem.
Implements and sponges can cause severe pain, infection, digestive issues, fevers, internal bleeding, a prolonged hospital stay, require additional surgical procedures, and can even lead to permanent disabilities or death.
If you or a loved one has had a foreign object left inside you during a surgical procedure, you should consult with a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney. Contact the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., today to schedule your free case evaluation.