Although a surgical instrument being left inside a body cavity after surgery may sound very unusual, a survey found that over 4,000 people per year in the U.S. have instruments or equipment left behind in their bodies after surgery. As a result, the victims can suffer from pain, infections, and even death as a result.
Doctors performing surgeries may use many different types of equipment. Some of those may be used to control bleeding or to keep the area accessible. Some instruments that are left inside body cavities post-surgery include sponges, gauze, needles, clamps, and retractors. Studies show that sponges are the most common item left behind, because they often are difficult to tell apart from the tissue.
Instruments that are left inside a body after surgery can cause a number of complications, which can depend on what type of tool and where it is located. Some potential complications include pain, infection, puncturing of internal organs, delayed healing, and death.
In order to ensure that instruments are not left behind, hospitals and medical professionals need to be vigilant in keeping track of equipment that is used during surgery. Teams should do item counts before and after surgery, and the patient should be fully examined before the opening is closed.
If you are in the Houston area and you have suffered harm because of the negligence of a surgeon or a hospital, you should speak with an attorney. Call the Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Kennedy Law Firm today. We can help.