During surgery, there are many different types of medical malpractice that can occur.  The doctor may perform the wrong surgery on the wrong patient.  Doctors may puncture an organ or artery during the procedure.  However, an equally dangerous surgical injury is that of retained foreign objects. 

This is when a foreign object (any object that does not belong in the body) is left behind in the body by accident.  Such objects can include surgical tools like a scalpel or scissors, or it could be a sponge or a cloth used to soak up blood.  Anything left in the body can lead to serious complications.  The American College of Surgeons estimates that over 1,500 foreign objects are left inside patients after surgery every year.

There are some issues that can increase the risk of a foreign object will be retained in the body.  For example, surgeries performed in emergency situations present a greater likelihood that a sponge or tool will be left behind.  In cases of planned procedures where complications arise that make it necessary to change the procedure, there is then a greater risk that objects will be left behind.  The area of the body where the surgery is taking place can also lead to an increased likelihood that an instrument will be left behind.  While any body cavity can prove to be risky, procedures done in the abdomen or pelvis have more instances of surgical instruments being left behind.

Additionally, patients who have a higher body mass index also have an increased chance of having a surgical instrument left behind.  There is an increased likelihood that the surgical team will not notice if a sponge, clamp, or other tool has been left behind as it can disappear in the body. 

It is standard procedure for sponges and tools to be counted before and after surgery in order to avoid objects being left behind in the body.  If it is noticed that an instrument is missing, it is the responsibility of the surgical team to take the necessary steps to discover it.

Preventing Surgical Malpractice

There are some retained foreign objects that are so shocking that it seems that it would not be possible for it to happen without some type of negligence or carelessness taking place.  Doctors and nurses present in the operating room need to ensure that the necessary steps to avoid this are taken.  If you have found that you are dealing with this type of situation, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to pay for the pain and suffering and the corrective surgeries necessary to fix the mistake.

The Hudson foreign object attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County.  Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents.  Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.