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Shapiro & Appleton

How Dangerous is a Surgical Needle When Left in the Human Body?

The answer is very dangerous. Having any foreign object left inside your body after a medical procedure is dangerous and can seriously injure you, but a needle is especially hazardous since it is a sharp object that could puncture and/or tear a vital organ or tissue.

The number of patients who are injured by surgical tools such as sponges, clamps, and scalpels left inside their body after surgery is disturbingly high. A study conducted by the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health found that 1,500 patients are the victims of this type of surgical error every year. To put that number into perspective, 1,500 patients breaks down to about four victims every day.

One of the most common side effects people suffer when a surgical instrument is left inside them is sepsis, which is a serious bacterial infection of the blood stream. Treating this injury requires hospitalization and weeks of medical treatment.

Having a needle left inside your body after surgery is a prime example of medical negligence. It would be very difficult for a surgeon or medical professional to conjure up a reasonable argument justifying such an action.

 Our firm has experience handling this type of medical malpractice. For example, 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.

This case highlights the pain and suffering victims of this type of malpractice go through - multiple surgeries, extensive (and usually expensive) treatment, and the loss of trust between you and your doctor/surgeon who committed the egregious error. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries due to a needle, or other surgical tool, left inside your body, consult with a lawyer right away.

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