Surgical Errors in North Carolina Medical Malpractice Cases

A North Carolina medical malpractice attorney knows that never events are medical mistakes that are easily identifiable, easily preventable, and pose serious to severe consequences for the victim. A never event is also a warning of a major issue when it comes to safety protocols at the hospital or medical facility where it occurs. According to multiple studies, there are more than 100,000 never events that occur in this country each year. The annual costs of never events surpass $9 billion. More people die each year from never events than they do in vehicle crashes.

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our medical malpractice attorneys have successfully represented many clients who were victims of never events. Some of the more common that our legal team has seen include:

  • Incorrect blood type when giving transfusions
  • Surgery on the wrong body part
  • Pressure sores
  • Medication errors

Surgical Errors

The most significant and common never events are surgical errors. Our North Carolina medical malpractice attorneys have heard all kinds of horrific stories from our clients about the tragic experiences they have suffered because of surgical errors. One of the more frequent issues is when a surgical sponge is left inside the patient.

In one case recounted in the New England Journal of Medicine, one victim spent years suffering with what was later determined to be a surgical sponge. The 42-year-old woman went to her doctor with complaints of stomach bloating. This is when her doctor discovered two surgical sponges inside her stomach. The woman had only had two surgeries in her abdomen area, both were Caesarean sections.

However, the surgeries were six and nine years prior to her current medical issues. The frightening conclusion was that the sponges had been inside her stomach for at least six years, possibly nine. Surgery was needed to remove the sponges, which had fused to the woman’s colon and stomach. The woman survived the ordeal, which could have been fatal had she not gone to her doctor when she did.

How common is it that surgical sponges and other instruments are left inside patients? National data collected by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, there are more than 6,000 incidents each year. It is suspected that number is even higher because there are no federal regulations in place requiring reporting of these types of incidents. Not only are there health risks of having a foreign object left inside a patient, but there is also a high risk of infection, which can lead to sepsis and death.

Every operating room should have stringent surgical protocols in place. If these protocols are followed, there should be no incidents of any surgical sponges or instruments left inside patients. Leaving an object inside a patient is blatant negligence on the part of the medical professionals tasked with saving a patient’s life, not causing dangerous health issues.

Call Our Office Today

The legal team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has successfully represented many clients and their families who suffered serious injury or illness because of the negligence or carelessness of a doctor or other medical staff. In one case, we were able to obtain a $350,000 settlement for a client who suffered significant injury when his surgeon left a surgical sponge behind after gall bladder surgery.

Our North Carolina medical malpractice attorneys understand the overwhelming stress these types of mistakes can have on families and work diligently to obtain financial compensation because of the harm victims suffered when medical staff failed to provide the necessary medical treatment. Call our office today for your free case evaluation and discuss what legal recourse you may have.