Objects Left in Body After Surgery
Shockingly, surgical items and other foreign objects are left inside of thousands of American patients each year. This is something that should never happen.
According to the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, leaving behind an object after a surgical operation is a “never event.” Doing so can cause severe harm, even death.
There is no excuse for this type of medical error.
Doctors, surgeons, nurses, hospitals, and healthcare providers must be accountable for their negligence. If you are considering filing a retained surgical instruments lawsuit, you need a strong and experienced New Jersey medical malpractice attorney on your side.
An Overview of Items Left Behind in Surgery
A wide range of different items are sometimes left behind by surgeons, doctors, and nurses after major medical operations. Any foreign object left within a patient can potentially cause serious physical harm, including life-threatening infections. Some of the most common objects left in the body after surgery include:
- Knives (especially blades);
- Surgical masks;
- Forceps; and
- Medical scissors.
There are several hundred types of surgical instruments and tools that could be left behind. That is why surgeons and their surgical technicians need to pay close attention to all the tools used.
The Reasons Why Objects Get Left in the Body
Medical professionals and hospitals must have effective protocols in place to prevent objects from being left inside a patient. Sadly, this very serious and blatant form of medical malpractice still happens in far too many cases. Some of the most common reasons why objects are left behind in a body after a surgical operation are as follows:
- The hospital failed to develop or implement effective protocols to ensure that all objects, medical instruments, and medical materials are accounted for;
- Surgeons or nurses deviate from the required medical procedures;
- There was poor communication between the medical professionals involved in the operation; and
- There was sloppy or negligent work by surgeons or nurses.
Human error is the primary reason that surgical instruments are missed and left inside patients after a medical procedure. The risk of leaving equipment behind is increased when surgeons are doing back to back surgeries and are fatigued.
Surgical teams need to do everything possible to keep any tools from being left behind. There is technology available to tag items in x-rays to see if anything was left behind before closing the surgical incision.
Sponges are among the most common objects left behind. Some medical facilities rely on sponge-tacking technology with barcodes. Before using a sponge, someone will scan it. That way the surgical team knows whether all sponges are accounted for after surgery.
Compensation Available for Medical Malpractice Victims
If you or your loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, financial compensation must be made available. Unfortunately, medical providers and their insurance companies are extremely aggressive in defending these claims. They make it difficult for patients to get the full financial support that they rightfully deserve.
At O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers help victims who suffered harm because of an object left in their body after surgery get the maximum available financial recovery. Compensation may be obtained for:
- Emergency medical treatment;
- Other medical expenses;
- Physical therapy or rehabilitative care;
- Loss of wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Scarring or disfigurement;
- Loss of life enjoyment; and
- Wrongful death of a family member.
There are numerous consequences of leaving surgical instruments in a patient. The effects will vary based on the type of object and where it was left inside the body. Your potential compensation will be directly linked to the severity of your injuries and how long it takes you to recover.
Finding out there is an object left behind in your body is a traumatic experience. Sometimes, it can be years before a victim realizes something is wrong. By then, you could have serious damage or a significant infection. More than likely, you will need another emergency surgery to remove the item.
Get Help From Our New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today
At O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, our top-rated New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience handling retained surgical instrument lawsuits.
To set up a free, no obligation initial legal consultation, please contact our legal team right away. With offices in Springfield, Freehold, Paramus, Newark, Jersey City, and Woodbridge, we are well-positioned to serve communities throughout New Jersey.