Objects Left Behind After Surgery in Florida
Leaving an object in a patient’s body during surgery is among those acts referred to as “never events.” Unfortunately, even though these are acts that should never happen, they often do. In fact, a recent Johns Hopkins study found that about 39 times a week a surgeon in the U.S. leaves a foreign object such as a sponge or a towel inside a patient’s body after an operation.
How can this happen?
One possible explanation is haste, or moving too quickly to finish one operation because another is scheduled. Another reason could be that doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals involved with surgeries simply ignore policies and procedures that are established to account for surgical instruments and materials.
To learn more about your rights if you are injured due to an act as egregious as leaving an object behind after surgery, you should contact a lawyer without delay. Call Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, at our toll-free number or use our online form.
What Objects are Left Behind
One of the most extreme cases of alleged negligence that resulted in foreign objects being left inside a patient’s body involved a German hospital in 2013. According to news reports, surgeons from the hospital allegedly left more than a dozen pieces of medical equipment inside a 74-year-old patient’s body after prostate cancer surgery, including a needle, a six-inch roll of bandage, a six-inch-long compress, several swabs and a fragment of a surgical mask.
But most cases are not that extreme. A New England Journal of Medicine study of 54 cases which were confirmed to involve a retained foreign object after surgery found a total of 61 items left in patients’ bodies. Out of those cases, 69 percent involved sponges and 31 percent involved instruments such as a clamp.
No major bodily cavity was spared in the cases documented by the New England Journal of Medicine. More than half of the foreign objects left behind after surgery (54 percent) were found in the abdomen or pelvis, 22 percent in the vagina, 7.4 percent in the thorax and 17 percent elsewhere, including the spinal canal, face, brain and extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned doctors about the dangers of “unretrieved device fragments” (UDFs). These are fragments of a medical device that have separated unintentionally and remain in the patient after a procedure. The FDA says it has received adverse event reports about UDFs that included local tissue reaction, infection, perforation and obstruction of blood vessels and death.
Additionally, during MRI procedures, magnetic fields may cause metallic fragments to migrate, and radio frequency fields may cause them to heat. This can cause internal tissue damage and/or burns.
A Florida Lawyer Can Provide Legal Help to Victims of Medical Malpractice
Post-operative surgical complications, including foreign objects left behind after surgery, can put your health at risk and result in physical pain, emotional suffering, additional medical expenses and a loss of income as you recover.
If you or someone close to you has suffered from post-operative complications caused by the negligence of a surgeon, nurse or operating room technician, the medical malpractice lawyers of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, want to help. We are dedicated to assisting surgical negligence victims to obtain the compensation they need during their recoveries.
To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us today at our toll-free number or use our online form.
- Risk Factors for Retained Instruments and Sponges after Surgery, New England Journal of Medicine
- Surgical ‘Never Events’ Occur At Least 4,000 Times Per Year, Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Surgeons Allegedly Left 16 Medical Items In Body Of German Cancer Patient, Huffington Post
- Public Health Notification: Unretrieved Device Fragments, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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