One of the most shockingly common types of medical malpractice occurs when a surgeon and his or her surgical team concludes a procedure without removing all of the foreign objects used on the patient during the surgery. Such objects may include sponges, clamps, gauze, surgical instruments and even needles. If a foreign object is left in the body after the surgery is completed, life-threatening conditions can – and often do – ensue. These objects can cause severe pain and often result in, among other things, significant infections and organ damage which can lead to death if not timely and appropriately recognized and removed. Of course, at a minimum, the negligent failure to remove all foreign objects from the body before closing the incision necessitates an additional painful surgery to remove the object which means additional hospitalization, increased medical bills and, sometimes, unnecessary lost wages.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand that often the best way to pursue these types of cases is to show that the surgeon violated his or her own hospital’s policies, guidelines and procedures. Most hospitals and surgery centers have written policies that govern how to avoid leaving a foreign object inside the body, such as tracking the objects that go in and counting the objects as they are removed to ensure that none are left before the incision is closed. The pre and post-surgery count also should be documented in the patient’s medical records.
If you or a loved one were injured by a doctor’s negligent failure to remove all foreign objects prior to completing a surgery, call one of our seasoned medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation at (410) 385-2225.