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Shapiro & Appleton

Left Behind: Sponges, Towels, Scissors, and Much More Left Inside Patients

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Just imagine, you've gotten out of surgery in the hopes that whatever was wrong with you was fixed. A few days pass and you don't feel right. You know something is wrong. You may even feel just as bad as prior to surgery. You get checked out and discover something was actually left inside your body during surgery.

This is a horrifying revelation and the damage done to your body can be extensive. Unfortunately, it's not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, a study conducted by the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health found that 1,500 patients every year are the victims of this type of medical mistake.

medical, malpractice, negligece, injuries, injury, surgeryMRITechnicians.org published an article featuring the top "20 Creepy Things Found Inside Someone" and three of the items were surgical instruments and items left inside someone after surgery. These items included a towel, a 10-inch retractor, and a foot-long spatula-like surgical tool.

Our law firm has experience handling these types of surgical mistake cases. We represented a woman in Richmond, Virginia (VA) who had a hysterectomy and later discovered a surgical sponge was left inside her body (she didn't find this out until six months after the surgical procedure). This created a fistula in her bowel which required a subsequent bowel resection surgery. Fortunately, we were able to reach a successful settlement to help her with medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

There is no legitimate excuse for leaving a surgical tool, sponge, towel, or any other object inside a patient after a surgery. This type of surgical error  is preventable and surgeons need to take a serious look at their pre-and-post surgical procedures in order to figure out when this negligence occurs and how to correct it.

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