Texas readers may be shocked to learn that surgeons accidentally leave thousands of foreign objects inside the bodies of patients each year. This type of surgical error, which is entirely preventable, can cause a number of serious health problems and may even be fatal.
Retained surgical instruments after surgery
Studies show that there are between 4,000 and 6,000 incidents of retained surgical instruments after surgery across the United States every year. Here are some of the tools that are most commonly left behind:
• Surgical masks and gloves
There are several reasons why surgical instruments might be left inside a patient’s body after surgery. It is estimated that surgeons use over 250 different tools during a typical operation. Most hospitals task nurses or technicians with keeping track of these objects, but they can make mistakes if they are fatigued or become stressed during a surgical emergency. Meanwhile, factors such as the patient’s body mass index, the need for multiple surgical procedures and excess blood loss can also increase the risk of instruments being left behind. Patients who suffer retained surgical instruments after surgery can experience a variety of adverse health conditions, including infections, pain, fever, swelling, internal bleeding and damage to internal organs. If the misplaced tool is not removed through an additional surgery, the patient might even die.
Victims of surgical errors may find relief by contacting a personal injury attorney for advice. The attorney could review the case and determine if the surgical staff failed to provide the required standard of care. If so, legal counsel may recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible surgeon and hospital. This action might help the victim obtain compensation for a variety of damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress and more.