Retained sponge causes patient to suffer permanent injuries

As we have mentioned before on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, there are some types of surgical errors that are 100 percent preventable. Surgical errors that are 100 percent preventable are called “never events” because these mistakes should never happen.

So why are these so-called never events still occurring in our country? Why are doctors, nurses and hospitals still making the same surgical errors when they know how to avoid these mistakes? Why are patients still suffering the consequences of these medical errors? The answer is simple: Negligence. Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. When doctors breach this duty, patients are often harmed.

One type of never event that may harm patients is leaving a sponge or several sponges inside a patient after surgery. This should never happen because medical professionals are required to keep track of what is put inside patients’ bodies during operations and medical professionals are required to keep track of what comes out of patients’ bodies after surgery. However, even this type of mistake continues to be made. Earlier this week, it was reported that a patient is suing a hospital for making this mistake. The error has since caused the patient to suffer permanent injuries.

According to the lawsuit, the patient had a surgery performed at a hospital in Connecticut in 2010. After the surgery, the man suffered severe complications. He developed an infection, suffered from heart palpitations and experienced severe neck and back pain. These complications were entirely avoidable. The patient later learned that a sponge had been left inside his body when he had his operation. The man had to undergo another surgery so that the sponge could be removed.

The man’s infection was treated, but his activities have since been limited as a result of his other injuries from the botched surgery. The hospital did apologize for the mistake, but the hospital has yet to compensate the man for all of his injuries and medical expenses resulting from the surgical error.

Source: Greenwich Time, “Man claims hospital botched surgery,” Amanda Cuda, March 11, 2013

Surgical Errors


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