Have you seen the commercial where a surgeon leaves his cellphone inside of a patient and only finds out when he gets a call after the procedure? It’s meant to be funny, but it’s not nearly as far from the truth as you may assume. The reality is that surgeons do leave items behind from time to time, and they can cause serious problems for patients. In the worst cases, these events could even be fatal.
Examples of items that may get left behind include:
- Surgical gloves
- Surgical masks
- Measuring devices
- Drain tips
- Guide wires
In some of these cases, the issue is that the devices are actively left in the body during the surgery; it’s not as if the surgeon drops them in and doesn’t notice. Sponges are used to clean up blood and may become the same color, making them hard to distinguish. Clamps are actively attached to the patient and they assist in the surgery, but they could be forgotten by a surgical team that does not properly count the instruments that they used when they’re done.
No matter how it happens, you can imagine how problematic this can be. It can prevent healing. It can lead to increased pain and discomfort. Even when the doctors figure out what happened, they then have to do another surgery to remove the item, complicating and extending the healing process.
If this happens to you, it is important to know what legal options you have to seek financial compensation for pain and suffering, increased costs, lost wages and the like.