The Adverse Effects of Sponges and Other Equipment Left Inside Patients Following Surgery

It is normal to worry when facing surgery. In fact, many people worry whether they will react poorly to the anesthesia, if they will be in pain following the surgery, and what the side effects or outcome of the surgery will be. While you may not worry about a doctor leaving equipment inside of you, the truth of the matter is that surgical items do get left inside patients more often than they should.

Although most doctors and hospitals have procedures in place for this sort of thing not to happen (i.e., count the objects that go in and count the number that come out), surgical equipment can inadvertently get left behind if nurses and doctors fail to follow protocol. These objects can include sponges, hardware, clamps, forceps, and other surgical instruments. Although any of these objects can be cause for concern, the biggest problem for a patient is the forgotten sponge that is used during surgery to soak up blood, according to USA Today. In fact, lost sponges are the most common objects left inside patients’ bodies when doctors sew them up.

The Painful Truth of Lost Surgical Items

When a forgotten sponge or other foreign object is left inside someone’s body, a person can get sick, suffer an infection, endure pain, appear bloated, have digestive problems, or have other problems. This can go on for weeks, months, or years before the problem is ever discovered. Sadly, a person may have to go to extreme lengths to finally get a doctor to agree to a post-operative X-ray. By the time an X-ray is taken, the patient is usually in so much pain and sometimes an infection has already set in.

Not only do people have to undergo an additional surgery to retrieve lost surgical items, but the consequences of forgotten surgical equipment can be severe. For some, it can cost them part of their intestines and the ability to go to the bathroom normally. And for others it may mean the inability to have a child. Sadly, these outcomes are life-altering, and some people even pay with their lives.

If you or a loved one has endured any of these outcomes, please seek legal advice. You may have a claim for medical malpractice to compensate you for your medical bills, pain, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and lost income. We welcome your call and would like you to have a free copy of our book, What You Need to Know Before Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Case.