Surgery is a delicate process. Surgeons must be extremely careful throughout, both when cutting into the body and when sewing it back together. Unfortunately, surgeons too often make mistakes when ending a surgical procedure and sew the body up with instruments still inside. This can lead to infections and other complications.
While leaving a surgical object in a body may be an honest error, it is not one to be expected from a highly trained physician, in whose hands you placed your life.
ReShea Balams represents patients who have suffered infection and other conditions because of the failures of surgeons and hospital staff to ensure that everything put inside them during surgery was taken out. She is an Atlanta retained surgical instrument lawyer who spends the time owed to every client. Contact The Balams Firm today at (404) 445-2005 to schedule a free consultation.
The Balams Firm represents clients throughout the Atlanta area, including in Johns Creek, Roswell, Norcross, Sandy Springs, Duluth, Smyrna, Alpharetta, College Park, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Milton, Lawrenceville, Decatur and anywhere in the area.
During surgery, many instruments must be used. Procedure during such a process should be to carefully record every single used and every item that goes into the body. All hospitals should have such procedures in place.
Objects in surgery may include:
Surgical staff is supposed to keep careful track of every item used as it goes into the body. Sometimes, though, the staff members are not sufficiently observant and miss something. The inside of the body has many fluids, organs and crevices in which a device can become lost. A sponge soaked in blood may even look like tissue if staff is not sufficiently careful.
In the medical field, these are commonly referred to as retained surgical foreign body (RSFB).
When a foreign object is in the body, it is always possible for complications to develop. The RSFB could obstruct or block blood vessels or the gastrointestinal system, including bowels. In many cases, an infection may occur.
Symptoms of a retained surgical instrument can include pain, abscess (collection of pus), intestinal blockage and fever. Symptoms may develop quickly, especially for metal objects, or may takes months or more to develop, which is often the case for sponge or gauze. A mass of cotton in the body is called a "gossypiboma."
One of the most significant results of a retained medical instrument is that it will result in another surgery. In most cases, it is imperative that the object be removed, and the only way to do it is the cut the body open again. This means another expensive procedure and another painful recovery period.
Medical professionals are held to a high standard, and mistakes in instrument counts during surgery are often the result of negligence. In medical negligence, a professional fails to meet the standards of their profession.
The victim can recover the cost of any procedures and expenses that were undertaken to remedy the situation. This includes any lost wages from work a person had to miss due to the surgical procedure to remove the object and recover afterward.
You can also recover for pain and suffering, which can be significant. In 2010, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned a cap on damages like these for medical malpractice cases, meaning the full extent of your damages may be determined by a jury.
Nothing Left Behind: This is a project by a surgeon to advocate for public safety in the prevention of retained surgical objects.
The Retained Surgical Sponge: This article, from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, discusses the dangers of retained sponges.
If surgical staff left an instrument in your body during surgery, you can recover for your damages. It is critical to act soon, though. The Balams Firm is an Atlanta retained surgical instrument lawyer who represents patients who have been the victims of medical malpractice. The Balams Firm represents clients in Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, Gwinnett, or Clayton Counties. Call (404) 445-2005 today to schedule a consultation.