Tools Retained in the Body after Surgery
When you have surgery, you are placing large amounts of trust in your surgeon and his or her medical team. Surgeries are stressful enough without having to worry about medical mistakes. Sadly, though, mistakes can happen, causing you further injury or even a life-threatening infection.
During a surgical procedure, doctors often must use a variety of tools to complete the surgery. Knives and scalpels are used to open the body, clamps hold open the incision, and sponges help keep the area clean. Disturbingly, sometimes the medical professionals lose track of their instruments and leave them inside the body.
In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that about 1,500 cases of retained surgical instruments occur each year in the United States alone. This occurs most commonly in the abdominal cavity, while the thoracic cavity and others were affected as well. There are several things that can increase your risk of this mistake, including
- Being overweight or obese
- Undergoing an emergency procedure
- Needing a unplanned change during the surgery
Sponges are a commonly misplaced instrument, and they are especially dangerous because they do not show up on x-rays unless they are a special type of x-ray detectable sponge. Sadly, missing sponges often require a person to be reopened and examined for lost tools.
Tools retained in the body after surgery can cause internal damage and infection, often necessitating more surgery. This can be costly and stressful. If you or someone you know had suffered from this type of medical mistake, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer about your options.