Medical Malpractice: Surgical Objects Left Inside Patients Due To Negligence
In the U.S., up to 6,000 people who have surgery wind up with surgical objects left inside of their bodies once sewn up. Some estimates even range between 1 in every 1,000 surgeries, with some hospitals reporting objects left inside patients once every three months! Most commonly, patients find themselves with needles or sponges left behind. Additionally, a lot of items left inside patients may include scalpels, masks, clamps, gloves, forceps, as well as other typical surgical instruments. Due to this sort of negligence by medical providers, these patients may experience health issues (sometimes permanent) caused by the objects having been left inside their bodies.
People who are left with these implements in their bodies are then at risk for experiencing serious medical issues, from infections, fever, swelling, or even damage to their internal organs. In the most severe cases, death can result. In the mildest cases, a patient may never notice the object, and never experience any issues. This commonly occurs in those who may be overweight or obese, or when a surgery requires multiple surgical teams. It can also happen when there are unexpected changes or occurrences in a surgery, e.g. greater loss of blood could mean needing more sponges, which could increase the risk that sponges are left behind in someone’s body.
Every single occurrence of objects being left behind is due to human error, whether it be fatigue, distraction, or failure on the part of a nurse tracking surgical instruments being used. If a surgical object is left inside someone’s body, injuring the patient, the patient may have grounds to sue on the basis of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a licensed medical professional’s failure to meet the standard of care of a reasonably prudent professional of similar training under similar circumstances. The medical professional is liable to a patient for damages when the professional’s malpractice causes the patient to suffer injury or loss.
If you have been affected by a medical professional’s negligence, and have had a surgical object left inside your body, and it has caused you to suffer injury, you may be able to sue for medical malpractice. It is imperative to contact an attorney as soon as this medical error is detected as medical malpractice suits can be very complex and can require extensive research before filing. Additionally, medical malpractice suits require a lot of fact-finding before they can be filed, such as finding and retaining expert witnesses, and following stringent procedural requirements like preparing documents that are specifically required in medical malpractice lawsuits. This is why it is very important to contact an attorney as soon as possible when you think you may have legal recourse, as medical malpractice injury lawsuits have a statute of limitations (a deadline which a case must be filed before) of two years.
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