Many Georgia patients are nervous before undergoing surgery, but few people worry about doctors leaving foreign objects in their bodies after the procedure. Unfortunately, this nightmare scenario happens to thousands of Americans each year.
According to various studies, there are between 4,500 and 6,000 incidents of retained surgical instruments after surgery across the United States annually. This type of medical mistake can lead to many serious health conditions. In some cases, it can even cause the premature death of a patient.
Experts say that the surgical instruments most often left inside patients’ bodies include needles, sponges, scalpels, scissors, towels, drain tips, guidewire and clamps. Meanwhile, it is also common for medical staff to leave tweezers, forceps, scopes, surgical masks, measuring devices, surgical gloves and tubes behind. These objects are typically left inside a patient because doctors, nurses or technicians fail to properly keep track of instruments during a procedure, feel rushed due to an emergency situation or are fatigued. In order to prevent leaving sponges inside patients, some hospitals use special bar-coding technology to count the instruments before and after each procedure. Other facilities use sponges and towels equipped with radio-frequency tags, which can be detected by an x-ray before the patient is taken to the recovery room.
Victims of surgical errors might wish to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. After learning the details of the case, legal counsel might suggest filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor and hospital. If this claim is successful, it may lead to a financial settlement that covers a victim’s medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other related damages.