One type of medical malpractice that sometimes happens is when a doctor is negligent and leaves an item behind when finishing up a surgical procedure. These are known as “retained surgical foreign bodies.” They can be very problematic, leading to severe complications or even death.
Often, the problem is simply that the surgical team did not count the items, and so they did not know that an item had been forgotten. In other cases, counting mistakes are made or there are other communication errors. But, no matter how it happens, what types of items will be left behind in these patients?
It depends on the surgery
Clearly, the exact tools and implements left behind are going to depend on the type of surgery being performed. But if some common examples include:
- Surgical sponges intended to soak up blood
- Gauze, towels and other such materials
- Clamps, needles and pins that are used during the procedure
- Scissors or scalpels used to make incisions
Soft items are often left behind simply because they can be harder to identify. A towel, a sponge or a piece of gauze that has been completely soaked may not stand out against the other body tissues.
Don’t assume that these items are not dangerous. They can often lead to infections or other inflammatory responses. They can also hinder the level of healing that would’ve been expected. Furthermore, once the item has been identified, another surgical procedure may be required to remove it again. All of this can make the process more dangerous and delay the recovery of the patient.
Patients who have suffered harm from surgical mistakes may need to take the time to look into all of their legal options to seek proper compensation.