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Foreign Objects Left Behind During Surgery

By Grant Law Office on December 12, 2016

One of the more harmful things that can happen during surgery is for the surgeon and/or surgical team to leave a foreign object inside your body. These Retained Surgical Items (RSIs) can result in additional surgical procedures, internal obstructions, abscesses, visceral perforations, intestinal fistulas, and in some cases, death.

Per the National Center for Health Statistics, the occurrence of RSIs is rare, happening about once in every 5,500 to 7,000 surgeries. However, a newer study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons estimates that a typical hospital has two RSI incidents per year. The study also claims that the objects left behind most frequently are surgical sponges that are used to soak up blood. Apparently sponges can be quite difficult to see once they’ve become saturated. Regardless, there is no excuse for failing to locate and remove any surgical item, including a sponge. Nurses (and/or techs) are supposed to count sponges and instruments before a procedure, and count again, after the procedure. Any surgical items that are not accounted for must be located and removed. The standard of care requires that location and removal of these items take place before the patient leaves the operating room.

New radiofrequency detection systems can vastly cut down on sponges left behind. With this technology, tiny chips are sewn into the sponges. Hospital staff can then use a wand to detect whether any of these MIA RSIs are still in the body. And while technology can go a long way toward preventing RSIs, there’s still human error to worry about.

If you’ve had a foreign object left in your body after surgery, you may be facing future medical bills, pain and suffering, and time off of work—all due to someone else’s negligence. This is not right and you need to take action. To get compensation for your losses, call the experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Grant Law Office. For over 30 years, Grant Law Office has been successfully representing Georgia injury victims, winning them significant settlements. Call (866) 249-5513 or (404) 995-3955 today for a free consultation.

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