Maryland Retained Surgical Instruments Lawyer
There are some medical events that are classified as “never events,” which means they should never occur because they are preventable and harmful. A retained surgical instrument is one such event. This happens when an item is left behind in a patient’s body during surgery.
Retained surgical instruments are events that happen quite often and can cause serious health issues. But given the number of tools involved in the average surgery, it’s understandable that one could get lost in the shuffle. Most surgeries use around 300 different items. Some extensive operations may use as many as 600, making it more likely that a surgeon will lose track of a tool and leave it in a patient’s body.
There are many possible tools that could be retained. Sponges are the most commonly retained ones. Others include towels, needles, tweezers, knife blades, scissors, safety pins, scalpels, clamps, forceps, measuring devices, scopes, and suction tubes. When a towel or sponge is retained in the body after surgery, it is known as gossypiboma.
Retained surgical instruments can lead to serious consequences for the affected patient. A person can suffer infections, internal bleeding, and damage to vital organs. You may need follow-up surgery to fix the issue. If you have been affected, the Maryland retained surgical instruments lawyer at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman can guide you through the process so you can obtain compensation for your damages.
Frequency of Occurrences
Retained sponges are incidents that are underreported. While it’s estimated that as many as 6,000 patients have retained surgical items in their bodies every year, making it the most common never event, this number could actually be much higher. This is due to a lack of accountability. Surgeons will not usually admit to this situation.
However, many patients suffer the effects of retained sponges and other tools for years before discovering the cause of their symptoms. Many suffer long-term, crippling pain and internal infections. Some suffer permanent damage to their intestines and even die.
How to Fix These Issues
There are a couple major fixes that hospitals could employ to prevent retained surgical instruments, but not all are using them. One is the use of electronic tracking devices that can be attached to sponges. These sponge-tracking systems are used by just 15% of hospitals in the United States, even though it costs only an extra $8 per surgery to use this technology.
Robotic surgery can also help reduce human error. These robots can help with delicate surgeries by ensuring fewer complications. Many physician and hospital websites advertise the use of these effective robots for surgeries.
Contact Us Today
Surgery comes with a lot of risks, including the possibility of retained surgical instruments. Tools that are left in a patient’s body can lead to infection, organ puncture, and internal bleeding.
This type of medical negligence can result in unnecessary surgeries and other treatments. Seek legal help from the personal injury lawyers at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman. We will assess your surgical error and help you understand your rights to compensation. Call our office at (410) 567-0800 to schedule a consultation today.