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Items often left behind after surgery

On Behalf of | May 27, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When you go in for surgery, one potential complication that can arise is if the doctor accidentally leaves items behind — inside your body — when the operation has concluded.

This can lead to serious health issues for a patient, and the best-case scenario is usually that they have to perform surgery again to remove the object. In even worse scenarios, the patient’s health gets worse or they suffer severe injuries due to that retained item.

You may be wondering what types of items doctors would overlook, so a few of them are noted below: 

  • Sponges
  • Dressing
  • Absorbent pads
  • Small needles
  • Surgical instruments

It’s difficult to determine exactly how often this happens because reports vary considerably. But there are those who believe this occurs in approximately one out of every 1,000 surgical procedures.

What are doctors supposed to do?

There are a lot of steps that doctors are supposed to take to avoid this type of situation. For one thing, they’re supposed to count all the instruments and sponges that they use. But they may miscount or items may be overlooked. Technology can also help in some situations, as doctors can carry out scans to check for items that may have been left behind. But the scans aren’t always done or they may just be performed after the fact, which means that the critical error has already occurred.

If a doctor is negligent and doesn’t take these steps, resulting in serious injury, the patient needs to know about their rights to financial compensation. This can help to cover costs like lost wages from days out of work or the medical costs created by the mistake.