Injury Caused By Objects Left Behind In A Patient

An object left in patient after surgery is a potentially life-threatening mistake which entitles a victim to damages. This mistake, largely referred to in the medical community as “objects retained during surgery,” happens far too often all over the country.

Sometimes, the mistake is discovered when a patient continues to feel a mysterious pain during the weeks following surgery. Other times, the mistake may go unnoticed, only to be discovered during an unrelated procedure, or during an MRI or CT scan. After enough time, the retained object may begin to fuse to the patient, making extraction a difficult procedure.

Retained Surgical Objects

There are a ton of objects which may potentially be retained. The following are some of the most common object left in patient after surgery:

  • Wires

  • Tubes

  • Towels

  • Scalpels

  • Clamps

  • Fragments of instruments

However, the most common object retained during surgery is the sponge. Sponges are used often during surgeries, and many sponges are typically used during a single procedure. The problem with the sponge is that it can become easily hidden within the incision, sometimes blending in with surrounding tissues.

Health Problems Associated with Retained Surgical Objects

Fortunately, deaths are not a common result of an object left in patient after surgery. There are, however, many possible side effects to such a mistake. The Patient safety & Quality Healthcare website lists some of the most common issues resulting from retained objects.

  • Sepsis or other infections

  • Obstruction of the bowels

  • Visceral perforation

  • Subsequent surgery to extract the object

An object left in patient after surgery is a mistake which can be easily avoided if the surgical team properly prepares for the procedure. One of the most common causes of retained surgical objects is failing to get an accurate count of the objects used during the procedure.