A 2012 report from Johns Hopkins University found that over 4,000 people a year have surgical instruments or equipment left behind in their body after surgery. According to the National Quality Forum, this is one of the “never events” that should not ever happen in a medical facility, yet hundreds of people have it happen every month. The result of this carelessness on the part of the surgical team can result in pain, infections and even death for the patient.
Types Of Surgical Instruments Left In The Body
During a surgical procedure, the physicians and nurses performing the operation use many different types of equipment. Some of these may be actually be used within the surgical opening to control bleeding and to keep the area accessible. Some common instruments that are left inside the cavities of the body after surgery are:
- Scissors, tweezers, needles
- Clamps, forceps
By far, sponges are the most common equipment left behind, as they are often indistinguishable from the tissue surrounding them. It is estimated that two-thirds of all tools left behind in the body are sponges.
Injuries Caused By Surgical Tools Left Behind
Tools and instruments that are left inside a body after surgery can cause many complications and even death. Depending on the type of tool and where it is located, there may be several injuries and complications that occur:
- Slow healing
- Puncture of internal organs
Preventing Surgeons From Leaving Instruments In The Body
The main reason that retaining of surgical instruments is considered a “never event” is that it is always preventable. There is no reason that this should ever occur; yet it does. A 74-year old man in Germany reportedly had 16 different medical items left in his body after a surgery in 2010. To insure that instruments are not left behind, hospitals and surgical teams need to be vigilant in keeping track of equipment that is used. There should be item counts made before and after the surgery, bar codes can be attached to tools to track inventory and a full examination needs to be performed before closing the opening.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Prosecuting Cases When Surgeons Are Sloppy & Leave Instruments In The Body
When a surgical instrument is left in the body after surgery and causes injury, it is usually a clear case of medical malpractice. This should never happen and the hospital and surgeon may both be liable for the damage that it has caused and the victim should receive financial compensation for their injuries and future medical care.
Our team of medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is experienced at handling these complex cases and will fight for your right to be compensated for your injuries or loss. We invite you to meet with us for a complimentary consultation to discuss your legal options. 888-424-5757