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Surgical Instruments Left Inside Patients

By: Anapol Weiss

The scenario seems like one from a horror movie: a patient does not feel right after surgery; months or years later, a medical emergency leads doctors to find a foreign item – now infected and surrounded by scar tissue – had been left inside the patient’s body. The situation becomes life-threatening.

Tragically, these surgical “never events” have happened to at least hundreds of people in the United States. A report found that nearly 800 people had surgical instruments left inside them after operations between 2005 and 2012. These preventable surgical mistakes led to 16 deaths, and 95 percent of the patients had to stay longer in the hospital.

The following objects are most commonly left behind after surgery:

  • Sponges, towels and other soft items

  • Small miscellaneous items, such as broken parts of instruments

  • Needles, guide wires and other sharp items

  • Instruments such as malleable retractors

A patient must undergo more surgery when the surgical object is finally discovered. Depending on the item retained, the procedure to remove it could be extremely complex and dangerous. If the situation isn’t fatal, the patient may suffer from lifelong physical problems and emotional effects. It’s almost unbearable to think that these terrible consequences could have been prevented, had hospital staff practiced with more care.

Contact Our Firm for Assistance

For decades, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss have successfully represented people whose lives were forever changed by medical mistakes. They have the knowledge and resources to uncover important details about why patients’ injuries occurred and what could have been done to prevent them.

If you or a family member suffered the consequences of this or any kind of medical error, we can help. Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance.