Retained Foreign Objects Don’t Belong in Your Body – That Is Medical Malpractice, And You Have A Right To Compensation
Undergoing a surgical procedure can be nerve-racking, even under the best conditions. A patient should not have to worry about retained surgical items inside their body. Unfortunately, surgical errors occur and foreign bodies, such as a sponge, needle, towel, metal clip, or other surgical instruments, are left behind. When a foreign body is left inside someone, he or she may be in danger. Complications like infection, pain, extended illness or injury, organ perforation, or even death are common. To top things off, additional surgical procedures will likely be required to remove the retained surgical items.
The only a small silver lining to this issue. Patients suffering injury as a result of foreign bodies left behind may be entitled to compensation from the medical care provider responsible. Because of their needless pain and suffering, they are owed compensation. At Tittle Law, our Ohio personal injury lawyers understand the life-altering effects that patients suffer as a result of careless medical mistakes. We are dedicated to helping the victims of medical negligence in their pursuit of justice.
How Often are Surgical Items Left in Patients?
Unfortunately, surgical items and medical debris are left inside of patients far more frequently than many people realize. According to data collected and published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), medical objects are left inside of a patient in 1 in every 5,600 operations. On the surface level, that figure may not sound too alarming. However, the pervasiveness of the problem becomes clear when you consider the fact that there are more than 50 million medical operations conducted in our country annually. Altogether, this means that retained surgical items are negligently left inside of nearly 10,000 Americans each and every year.
Retained Surgical Items: A ‘Never Event’
A surgical item or other type of foreign object should never be left inside of a medical patient. As described by the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, ‘retained surgical items’ are listed as ‘never events’. The United States federal government defines a ‘never event’ as a type of medical error that presents a serious threat to public health and that can be virtually eliminated when proper care is taken by medical professionals and healthcare providers. The bottom line is simple: there is no excuse for leaving a foreign object inside of a patient. The danger is enormous, and the mistake is easy to avoid with proper care and safety procedures. Patients deserve better.
Retained Surgical Items Commonly Left Behind
When surgery is performed, a number of supplies, tools, instruments, or other objects are used in the operating room. These objects are used in or near your body; and as a result, can fall or left inside.
Some common objects left behind are as follows:
- Sponges and towels: These objects are used to soak up blood during surgery.
- Clips and clamps: These metal objects are used to compress tissue or blood vessels. Clamps are also commonly used to minimize blood loss.
- Scalpels or Blades: Often used for cutting and slicing, these metal objects can easily lacerate an organ if left behind in your body.
- Retractors: This surgical instrument is another object usually made of metal. It is used by surgeons to hold open incisions, wounds, or even other organs in order to reach other body parts during surgery.
- Forceps: These instruments are metal tools usually used to grasp or hold parts of the body.
- Needles: These thin, sharp objects can be used for a number of things, including to stitch a patient up after surgery.
Consequences of Foreign Objects Left in the Body
Leaving a surgical tool inside a patient’s body following a surgical procedure can lead to a number of harmful complications.
Some of these include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Pain and Suffering: The most obvious complication of leaving an object behind is pain. This is common if the object is large, sharp, or made of metal.
- Infection: Anytime a foreign body is left behind, the odds of infection are greatly increased. Infection inside your body is a serious medical condition that can cause a person to become extremely ill and may even lead to death.
- Punctures and Perforations: A sharp object is a great risk that your internal organs or arteries, and your bowels may be punctured. This could cause internal bleeding, infection, and even death.
- Death: If the foreign object causes infection or some type of perforation, the patient could die.
Compensation Available to Medical Malpractice Victims
Under Ohio law, medical malpractice victims are entitled to recover financial compensation for the full value of their damages. Medical malpractice claims are typically defended by large insurance companies. Even when liability is relatively clear, as is true in many retained surgical item malpractice cases, getting a full and fair recovery can still be immensely challenging for the victim and their family. In these cases, the big insurance providers tend to shift their tactics. They move from disputing liability to trying to limit the value of the damages. Medical malpractice victims should always be represented by a skilled Cleveland retained surgical items attorney who can help them properly document their losses. At Tittle & Perlmuter, our Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers can have the skills and experience to help you maximize your financial recovery. You may be able to get compensation for:
- Emergency room fees;
- Other medical costs;
- Rehabilitative care;
- Lost current and future wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental distress;
- Disfigurement; and
- Loss of life enjoyment.
Tragically, retained surgical items can sometimes lead to deaths. In these cases, the family members of the victim can bring an Ohio wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible medical professionals and healthcare providers. While nothing will be able to make up for the loss of your loved, the negligent parties must be held accountable. Your loved one deserves justices and your family needs financial support.
Request Your Free Medical Malpractice Consultation Today
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result retained surgical items, you may have a claim. This means you may be owed compensation. Call Tittle & Perlmuter at (216) 308-1522 or fill out our contact form online for a free consultation with one of our Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers.