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.

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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.

For more information regarding medical malpractice and other types of personal injury law, contact an Oklahoma personal injury attorney at the Abel Law Firm today at (405) 239-7046.

Ed Abel Named Oklahoma City Personal Injury Litigator of the Year

Ed Abel was awarded the Litigator of the Year award as recognition of his tremendous success in the courtroom defending the lives of Oklahomans, and his unique service as a true son of the State of Oklahoma. He has won some of the largest verdicts in Oklahoma's history, and he and his team have successfully argued against harmful tort reform laws in the state Supreme Court. His impact is so widespread across the state that Governor Mary Fallin declared May 1st as "Ed Abel Day."

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