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Serious Injuries from Retained Surgical Objects

By on March 15, 2010


Retained foreign objects have been called a "never events" as they are almost always preventable.  According to medical literature, the average medical cost incurred by a patient due to a retained foreign object exceeds $50,000.  Those patients require lengthy hospitalizations with repeat surgeries at significant risk to their health.

A recent statistic shows that approximately 50% of patients will develop an infection or sepsis.  Sepsis is a life threatening complication that can cause a patient to go into shock and suffer organ failure.

I started this post by stating that retained foreign objects (usually surgical sponges) are almost always preventable.  The rare times when they are not preventable are during a surgical emergency and the surgeon can not wait for the operating room nurse to properly count the sponges.  Again those are rare circumstances.  In almost all other cases, surgical sponges and other foreign objects are left in the body due to medical malpractice.

Here is a link to an excellent article "Objects Retained During Surgery: Human Diligence Meets Systems Solutions." The article makes clear that retained foreign objects are very dangerous and preventable complications of surgery.

If you or a loved has been injured due to a retained foreign object like a surgical sponge or surgical instrument, please contact us at (804) 288-1661 or click here to email us before it is too late to pursue your legal rights.

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