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Medical Malpractice: Retained Surgical Instruments

Jul 9, 2017 | Surgical Errors

"RetainedEver heard of the term gossypiboma? Probably not if you haven’t undergone a surgery where your surgeon left a sponge inside your body after closing up. Sponges aren’t the only thing that surgeons leave behind by mistake in their patient’s bodies. Scalpels, needles, forceps, clamps, suction tips, mops, scissors and tubes too, have been known to be left behind.

The malpractice angle

Sure this is an act of gross error or negligence that can jeopardize a patient’s life if severe post-operative infection sets in due to the presence of a foreign body.

It is a critical duty of the entire surgical team to take a full count of all surgical instruments and devices used during the operation and to ensure that nothing is missing. When this important surgical protocol has been violated, the medical malpractice angle surfaces.

Medical negligence assumes much significance in these cases as it can be proven easily vide the res ipsa loquitur doctrine in legal parlance. This in simpler terms means ‘the thing speaks for itself’. Moreover, in such vases, post-operative morbidity and even mortality rates are high. The fact that the unwanted object was callously left behind in a place where it by no means belongs is indefensible.

Compensation costs awarded to victims in a number of medico legal cases related to retained surgical instruments have been known to be high, even if the degree of harm has been negligible or even nothing to the victim. Published data shows that damages ranging from a little over $37,000 to a maximum of $2,350,000 have been awarded in different cases. The average per case cost worked out to around $95,000.

A study has shown that 95% of victims of retained surgical instruments required extended stay in the hospital and additional care. This cost them about $60,000 extra for no fault of their own in medical bills.

Moreover, nearly all of them had:

· acute post-operative infection and excruciating pain

· internal hemorrhaging

· septicemia or blood poisoning

· emergency surgery for removing part of their intestines

· blood vessel perforation

· local tissue inflammation

· granuloma

· nerve lesions or tumors

· cysts

· gallstones formation or disruptions in their immune systems

Taking legal recourse

If you have the proof and right documentation to support your claim, you have a solid case against the surgical team and the hospital that treated you. You will get compensation provided you consult with a legal pro who specializes in surgical error law and knows medical experts who would be willing to support your claim if it is viable.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff or RMFW Law, our team of RSI lawyers will thoroughly review your circumstances and work out a custom plan to get to the bottom of the matter about what happened exactly as also the extent of your sufferings.

Accordingly, as per the provisions of medical negligence laws, we shall file a suit in the relevant court of law after organizing the entire paperwork, appear on your behalf to place the valid arguments in front of the judge, get you your due compensation, and vide the court’s order. Call us at 212 697 9280 for a free consultation.

RMFW Law knows how to win cases inside and outside of court and our track record is remarkable. We know how the game is played and we know how to deal with hospital bureaucracy and insurance companies. We know their tactics and how to foil them. Call us today!