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The impact of left behind surgical tools

| Aug 18, 2017 | Surgical Errors

Surgery is a common mode of treatment for many health problems that New Yorkers have. Although they are aware of the risks that are involved, many of them never expect to end up with items left in their bodies from their procedures. Retained surgical items (RSIs) are preventable mistakes and commonly referred to as “never events,” states 

The risk of patients having RSIs is increasing because many surgeons and medical staff are overworked, misinformed, not thorough and fail to check behind themselves before closing their patients’ surgical sites. 

Objects commonly left inside of patients 

Many victims of surgical mistakes do not realize that they have foreign bodies inside of them until they go in for routine medical exams or experience symptoms like pain, infection and other health problems. Often, diagnostic exams are necessary for patients to discover that one of the following surgical tools is inside of their bodies. 

  •        Sponges
  •        Needles
  •        Staples
  •        Sharp instruments
  •        Broken surgical tools 

According to, the “risk of retained surgical items is four times higher when unplanned changes are made to a surgical procedure and when surgery is performed on an emergency basis.” 

The dangers of retained surgical items to patients is serious. Many patients suffer for months and years before their doctors suspect their surgical sites are the problem. By the time they discover the source of their health problems, they must undergo treatment for serious infection and other complications. 

Often, patients are unable to return to work and face long recovery periods because of their surgeons’ mistakes. Some individuals die from the complications. Many RSI victims and their loved ones find it beneficial to seek out legal assistance to hold their surgeons and the organizations they represent accountable for their neglect.


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