Sponges, Tools and Other Objects Left in Body
The prospect of undergoing surgery can be scary under the best of conditions. We’re told there are risks, even though they may be slight. We put ourselves in the hands of educated, experienced professionals whom we trust to minimize the risks and get it right. We expect when we recover from the pain and the incisions heal that we’ll be in better health than we were before the surgery.
Unfortunately, it’s an all-too-common mistake for an object to be left behind inside a patient’s body when a surgery is over. The human body isn’t built to accommodate foreign objects, and when one is left inside you, there may be serious effects on your health.
You likely need additional surgery to have the object removed, and possibly more beyond that to repair any damage the object caused while inside your body. You’re already dealing with the trauma to your body from the first surgery, and now you’re experiencing new problems — and incurring more medical costs. You may be facing extended time away from your job, and you’re worried about how you’re going to pay the rent or the mortgage while you’re not working.
If you’re been injured by a foreign object left inside your body during a surgery, you may have a claim for medical malpractice. When your injuries are the result of medical negligence, you may be able to recover payment of your medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, and loss of normal life.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help you determine if you have a claim and the likelihood of receiving compensation for your injuries and other damages.
When a surgical tool left in the body causes serious and lasting harm, Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP is here to hold them accountable. Our lawyers have collected millions of dollars in medical malpractice cases, including surgery malpractice.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We offer experienced, aggressive representation in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Objects Commonly Left Behind
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When a surgery is performed, there may be a wide variety of supplies, tools, instruments or other objects being used in the operating room. Many of them may be used in or near your body, and can fall inside or be left inside by mistake.
Some common items that may be left inside a patient’s body include:
- Sponges — These are typically made of a gauzelike material and are used to mop or soak up blood during a surgery.
- Retractors — This is a type of surgical instrument usually made of steel that allows a surgeon to hold back the edges of a wound, incision, organs or tissues to reach body parts.
- Clips and clamps — Clips and clamps typically are made of metal and are used to compress tissue or blood vessels. Clamps commonly are used to stop veins and arteries from bleeding.
- Forceps — Forceps are scissor-like metal tools used to grasp or hold parts of the body.
- Scalpels or blades — Sharp metal instruments used for cutting and slicing.
- Needles — Needles are thin, sharp objects used to sew sutures or stitches.
- Suction tips — Suction tips are used to syphon blood or other fluid from the part of the body that is the focus of the surgery.
Causes of Foreign Objects Left Behind After Surgery
Leaving an object inside a patient’s body is a completely preventable occurrence. If it happens, it is most likely the result of negligence by the surgeon or a member of the surgical team.
That negligence may be caused by inattention when the surgeon, surgical nurse or other member of the team just doesn’t notice that an object is still inside the patient or is missing from the instrument tray. However, even that kind of inattention can be corrected without harm to the patient if the surgical team follows a surgery checklist that includes accounting for all supplies and instruments used in the procedures.
Consequences of Foreign Objects in the Body
When a sponge, surgical tool or other object remains inside a patient’s body after surgical incisions have been closed, there are a number of possible harmful complications. Those include:
- Pain — When an object is inside your body that isn’t supposed to be, it’s natural that you’ll feel pain or discomfort, especially if the object is relatively large, sharp or made of metal.
- Infection — Infection is probably the most likely complication from a foreign object inside the body. If the object came into contact with any bacteria before entering your body, the bacteria can thrive and multiply in the environment inside your body. Infections inside your body can become very serious, very fast if not caught quickly. Infections can make a person extremely ill. They can be fatal in worst-case scenarios.
- Punctures and perforations — Sharp instruments may puncture or perforate internal organs, blood vessels, or your bowels and cause internal bleeding and infection.
- Obstruction — If an object becomes lodged inside the body, it can cause an obstruction that could block the flow of blood to your organs or tissues, which in turn could cause serious problems.
- Infertility — Objects that remain after a gynecological surgery can cause damage that leads to infertility in women.
- Death — If the damage or infection caused by the object is severe enough, the patient may die.
Get Help from a Long Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP on Long Island pursues medical malpractice cases in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens and throughout the NYC metro area. Our legal team works with distinguished medical experts to review cases, select the viable ones and meticulously prepare lawsuits. When we move forward on a case, we do so with full confidence that the claim is just, our client is deserving of compensation and we can demonstrate these facts.
Insurance companies may offer a settlement when a case is particularly strong. Our job is to make sure that you are compensated fairly for the short-term hardships and long-term impact of your medical injuries or your family member’s wrongful death. If the insurance company will not settle for a fair amount, we are prepared to take your case all the way to trial.
It costs you nothing to have your potential lawsuit evaluated. We invite you to tell us exactly what happened to you so that we can determine if your medical malpractice case has merit.
For a free claim evaluation and consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form. We will respond promptly. We can arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you.