Retained Medical Devices
They’re called “Never Events.” They happen when doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other members of the surgical team carelessly sew up a patient without removing foreign objects such as scalpels, clamps, sponges, or any other foreign object not meant to remain in the patient’s body. These egregious surgical errors are never supposed to happen. Ever. That’s why they’re referred to so absolutely as “never events.”
Yet each year, it’s conservatively estimated that 4,000 such “Never Events” of surgical negligence and operating room oversight occur in the U.S. alone. The experienced surgical malpractice lawyers at Hannon Legal Group uncovered a case where one surgical team in Germany once left 16 separate pieces of medical equipment inside the body of an elderly gentleman who had come to them for care!Why Is Retained Instrument Malpractice and Retained Sponge Malpractice Happening In Florida?
Leaving surgical equipment or other foreign objects in patients is considered a surgical error. While it’s not the only type of surgical malpractice Hannon Legal Group handles as a Miami Florida medical malpractice law firm, it is one of the most avoidable.
Protocols are supposed to be in place to prevent such mistakes. For example, the patient’s wound area should be methodically explored. Surgeons and nurses are required to know how many of each surgical instrument they have in the operating suite when they begin a procedure. Each instrument, every needle, each piece of gauze, and every inch of tubing must be accounted for once the surgery is complete. Yet, every week more than 30 foreign objects are left in patients while they’re still on the operating room table.
Perhaps it’s because additional effort and time is required to be certain. One study reported by the National Institutes of Health revealed that the methods available to ensure that these “Never Events” don’t occur are considered to be time consuming. At Hannon Legal Group, we don’t think that’s a good reason to provide less than the minimal acceptable standard of care.What A Retained Sponge Feels Like And When To Expect Symptoms
It is impossible to know exactly how often a sponge is retained sponge because many victims experience no symptoms. Add to that the many people who fail to report their symptoms because they assume they’re just a normal experience following their initial surgery. In some cases, though, symptoms turn out to be excruciating. A victim’s life can be changed for the worse—forever. Although such symptoms may arise directly following surgery, they sometimes don’t show up for many months later, or even years. The symptoms are not always consistent and they certainly vary. But if you have extreme discomfort or pain in your pelvic area or abdomen, you may be a victim of a retained sponge or some other medical device, especially if you sense a hard lump near your pelvis.What Can Happen When Your Surgeon Leaves A Sponge Inside You
A retained sponge is the most common item unintentionally left in a patient’s body by negligent surgeons. When a sponge is left in the body, extreme complications and harm can occur. These include:
- Additional surgeries
- Intestinal fistulas
- Readmission to the hospital or surgery center
- Visceral (bowel) perforations
- In the most unfortunate cases, death.
The negative outcomes associated with a surgical team’s failure to provide this most basic level of care varies, depending on the procedure.Leaving Foreign Objects In A Patient Is Malpractice
Roughly a third of these particular kinds of surgery errors result in permanent injury or worse. In fact, over six percent of patients who suffer this kind of negligence from their surgeon die. Surgical teams who are guilty of such egregious medical malpractice should be held accountable for the harm they cause. Taking legal action against such individuals and organizations helps ensure that they are.
The medical malpractice lawyers here at Hannon Legal Group stand at the ready to represent you. If you have suffered either economic damages or non-economic damages because a surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurse, or other member of the surgical team left even so much as a small piece of gauze in your body, you need competent representation from an experienced Miami Florida medical malpractice lawyer who will prosecute your case and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.What Damages Can a Medical Malpractice Victim Be Compensated For?
When doctors, nurses, surgeons, or the staff at a hospital or surgery center has acted negligently following your surgery and you have suffered harm because of it, damages can be awarded. Generally, they fall into the following categories:
- Loss of consortium - You have a right to expect affection, comfort, companionship and sexual relations with a spouse. However, if post-surgical malpractice has caused a loss in anyone of these areas, you may be compensated for the loss. Typically, damages of this type are limited to situations where permanent or life-changing injuries have been suffered.
- Loss of earning capacity - You need to be able to work, earn money, and make a living. If your ability to do that has been damaged by post-operative negligence, either temporarily or permanently, you can be compensated to make up for this loss of earning capacity.
- Lost wages - Sometimes, a postoperative error will mean a patient must miss work to recover from the injury. If that’s the case with you, you can be compensated for the lost salary or wages you had to do without.
- Medical expenses - Many times, a postoperative error will lead to additional medical treatments that would have been unnecessary otherwise. When that’s the case, a medical malpractice victim can be compensated for the cost of assistive devices, hospital stays, doctor visits, OT, PT, prescription drugs, doctor visits, or other healthcare expenses. If the injury is severe enough or permanent, you may also be awarded compensation for medical expenses that could arise in the future.
- Pain and suffering - Pain and suffering as the result of post-surgical malpractice are very real. If you’re a victim, you can receive compensation for for emotional distress, including fear, frustration, depression, anxiety and other kinds of mental suffering.
- Other kinds of damages - This is not a comprehensive list. Hannon Legal Group can help you determine what sort of damages you can expect, based on the details of your particular post-surgical error malpractice case, as each case is unique
Reach out to the surgical malpractice team at Hannon Legal Group today. We stand ready to offer full legal representation to you if you or a loved one has experienced pain, suffering, death, or loss because a surgeon committed medical malpractice by failing to remove all foreign objects at the end of a procedure. Call (305) 358-3109 to speak with an attorney or complete and submit a contact form about surgical malpractice.