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Commonly retained objects in a med mal case

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Personal Injury

In some cases, after surgery, objects or implements will be retained within the body. This can lead to severe negative consequences. The person may have to be readmitted to the hospital for another surgery to remove the implement. They may have to go through x-rays and other scans. In some cases, the implement could cause internal bleeding, infection or other types of damage. There are even some cases in which people pass away due to these retained objects.

This is a form of medical malpractice. Surgeons and surgical teams are held to a high standard, and expected to remove all implements at the conclusion of the surgery. Typically, this means that they will perform a count and double-check the number of implements that they still have. But mistakes made in counting or other areas could lead to these items being accidentally retained by the victim. In many cases, people won’t see immediate symptoms and may not even know that the object was retained until those symptoms escalate.

Common surgical tools

Every surgery is unique, of course, but here are some tools that could be left behind:

  • Surgical gauze 
  • Sponges to soak up blood and other fluids 
  • Scalpels 
  • Scissors 
  • Needles 
  • Catheters 
  • Drill bits or tips 
  • Forceps 
  • Device fragments

As you can imagine, some of these can have much more severe ramifications than others. Sponges are the most common item to be left behind, often because they are hard to distinguish from the patient’s body. While this may not be as dangerous to the patient as a needle or a scalpel, it still can lead to serious issues like infection and the need for a second surgery.

Patients who find themselves in this position need to know about all of their legal options. They may be able to seek compensation from the doctor or the medical center itself.