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What happens if a surgeon leaves equipment behind in surgery?

Surgeons use a number of tools when performing procedures on patients, including, but not limited to, sponges, scalpels, forceps, surgical masks, and needles. In fact, it is estimated that surgeons routinely use around 250 different types of instruments during a single procedure. With so many instruments out and about, it may not come as no surprise to Indiana residents that these objects are often left behind in patients. Thousands of such incidents take place yearly. In fact, between 4,500 and 6,000 such cases occur, according to some estimates.

Shockingly, the most common type of tools left inside patients are needles and sponges. Sponges especially blend in with a patient's organs, as they soak up blood during an operation, making it difficult to keep track of them. This happens most often during abdominal surgery.

Leaving an object behind after a surgery doesn't have to be an intentional surgical error, but it does come as a result of human error. When sponges are counted incorrectly after an operation, either due to fatigue or other chaos at that time, it can cause serious health consequences for patients. A fortunate few may not even realize that there is some equipment left inside them. Others may contract infections, become victim to severe pain, digestive problems, swelling, damage to internal organs, and bleeding. There might be a need for additional surgeries to remove the items left behind, whereas in extreme cases it may even cause loss of an organ or even death.

Surgical negligence can become the root of a medical malpractice case. Though it may sound daunting to take on medical professionals, it is their duty to provide medical care of a certain standard. When they fall below the standard it is possible to hold them accountable through a medical malpractice case.

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The Law Office of Nick Stein

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