Futterman, Sirotkin And Seinfeld, LLP
Futterman, Sirotkin And Seinfeld, LLP

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How often do surgical instruments get left inside patients?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2021 | Medical Malpractice |

When a New York area resident has to have surgery, it is usually a stressful time. Surgery is a big deal and although most surgeries go as expected, there are surgical errors that can sometimes occur. If surgery goes as expected, you will recover and be able to return to your daily activities. Unfortunately, this recovery may not happen when surgeons act negligently. One of the more common surgical errors is when surgical instruments are left inside patients.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, surgical instruments get left behind in a patient 0.3 to 1.0 times in every 1,000 abdominal surgeries. This can mean that thousands of patients each year in the United States are affected by retained surgical instruments. The surgical instruments are most often left behind in the abdomen, retroperitoneum and pelvis.

How can this happen?

There are many reasons why these surgical instruments can be left inside a patient. These include: Improper management systems, fatigue and inexperience. Depending on the surgery, surgeons can use over 250 different surgical instruments and tools in one operation. If the surgeon or surgical tech responsible for keeping record of the tools isn’t paying attention, they can lose track of the equipment and miscount. Sponges are one of the more common items left inside of a patient. They can be hard to track because they soak up blood and can blend in with the patient’s other organs. If someone is tired or not experienced in surgeries, a serious mistake can occur.

There are many problems that can occur if surgical equipment is left behind in a patient. These include infections, severe pain, organ damage, fever, digestive problems, swelling, etc. The patient may have to go through another surgery to have the item removed. A legal professional who is skilled in medical malpractice can help their client understand what happened to cause this unfortunately event and hold the negligent party responsible for their mistake.