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Surgical errors leave objects in thousands of patients every year

There has always been some form of risk associated with medical care. Before the medical profession realized the importance of sanitation and sterilization, operations often resulted in infection and death for hundreds of people. While medicine and medical processes have come a long way in the last several decades, surgical errors continue to cause additional pain and suffering for patients in New York City and elsewhere, and sadly, some still die from infection and complications.

With so many surgical instruments, sponges, and other tools being used in operations, it is not uncommon for doctors to leave an object inside the patient. What comes as a surprise is that when it comes to sponges being left inside, which is the most common of these errors, most hospitals are choosing not to use a tracking system that could eliminate the problem entirely.

Over 85 percent of hospitals fail to protect their patients from the harm caused when a sponge is left inside the body. For the hospitals that do use it, they have experienced zero cases of this type of medical malpractice. The fact is that up to 6,000 patients have this happen to them every year and when a sponge is left inside the body, a number of medical complications, infections, and damage to organs can happen.

If you have had surgery, you may have this problem and not know it. Many cases show that problems arising from this type of surgical error don't surface for months or years. Instead, the foreign object creates internal problems over time as the body tries to fight its presence. Patients who experience further issues as the result of surgical mistakes may benefit from talking to a legal professional about their options.

Source: USA Today, "What surgeons leave behind costs some patients dearly," Peter Eisler, March 8, 2013

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