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When surgeons forget items during an operation, patients suffer

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Surgical Errors

Surgery is often the best treatment available for certain medical conditions. It may be the only option for certain maladies. Patients who undergo surgery have to put their full faith in the medical professionals providing their care.

The vast majority of surgical procedures are successful or at least do not involve major mistakes on the part of the professionals involved. However, sometimes doctors make mistakes during surgery that have life-altering consequences for their patients. Some surgical issues are so easily preventable that other professionals refer to them as never events. These mistakes should never happen in a modern medical environment. A surgeon leaving tools in a patient is one of the more common and concerning never events that could take place during surgery.

Modern systems should prevent major errors

In theory, the best practices for modern surgeons include filling out paperwork accounting for every tool brought into the operating theater. The surgeon and the other medical professionals supporting them during the procedure should account for every item to ensure that the patient does not have any retained foreign bodies left in their incision.

Unfortunately, dozens of surgeries every week end with someone retaining items in their body that they should not. Those items can cause immediate medical risk for the patient. If the item is a hard or rigid tool, such as clamps or a scalpel, the item itself could do extreme damage to someone’s body. Even soft items, like gauze, can be incredibly dangerous. They can cause infections and severe inflammatory responses inside the body that can worsen someone’s underlying condition or endanger their health.

Typically, someone with retained foreign objects in their body after a surgical procedure must undergo revision surgery to remove those items as soon as possible. They may experience a much longer recovery time, including more time away from work. They may have additional medical expenses beyond just the surgical costs of the revision procedure.

When doctors do something so grossly negligent that it is deemed as something that should never occur, the patient affected may have reason to claim that they experienced medical malpractice. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit after a major surgical error can help cover the expenses generated by substandard medical care.