An article in USA Today reports that approximately a dozen times a day, surgical objects including instruments and sponges are left in a patient’s body after an operation. Research and government data suggest that retained surgical items occur 4,500 to 6,000 times per year and two-thirds of those cases involve retained surgical sponges.
Surgical sponges are used to soak up blood and fluids during an operation. When a surgical sponge is retained, it can take weeks, months and sometimes years before the true cause of a patient’s ongoing pain and symptoms is discovered. When a retained surgical sponge is discovered, the patient’s body is often full of infection leading to additional surgeries, hospital bills, permanent injuries and even death. Retained surgical sponges are most common in abdominal surgeries.
Retained surgical items are entirely preventable but hospitals have been reluctant to make substantial changes to ensure that items are not left in a patient’s body. If you or a family member has been the victim of a retained surgical item, please call the North Charleston Medical Malpractice Attorneys at 843-790-3476. We will be happy to take the time to discuss the case with you.