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Home > Articles > Tools Left in the Body after Surgery

Tools Left in the Body after Surgery

When you are in surgery, you are typically anesthetized and not aware of what is happening to your body. Thus, you are putting your life in the hands of your surgeon and his or her medical team. We should be able to trust them to help rather than hurt us. However, sometimes the opposite happens.

In surgery, doctors rely on a number of different tools to perform their task. Shockingly, surgeons sometimes forget their tools inside a patient after the person is sewn up. Researchers published a 2003 article in The New England Journal of Medicine that estimated 1,500 cases of retained foreign objects occur each year in the United States.

This study found that there are several things that can increase your risk of having this medical mistake happen to you, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Undergoing emergency surgery
  • Needing an unexpected change during the surgery

While the Association of Operating Room Nurses requires that only x-ray detectable sponges can be used in the operating room, and sponges should be counted before and after the surgery, accidents still happen. Sponges left in the body are especially dangerous because most are not detectable by x-rays, and most times the patient must be re-opened to find a sponge. Other tools, like clamps, knives, and needles, are more easily found.

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When tools are left in the body after surgery, it can cause extensive damage as well as infections. Often, patients must have another round of surgery to correct the mistake. Medical issues stemming from this type of medical malpractice can be dangerous and stressful as well as expensive.

If you or someone you know has had a tool left inside the body after surgery, you should speak to a lawyer about your rights. For more information regarding medical malpractice as well as other personal injury law topics, contact a Wisconsin personal injury lawyer from Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® today at 800-242-2874.

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