Retained Surgical Items And Medical Malpractice
When patients go for surgery, they have great hopes that the procedure will be carried out smoothly, and they will heal faster. Unfortunately, some patients don’t get what they expect. One of the main surgical complications is having foreign bodies left accidentally in the patient’s body. In most cases, the surgical items are left in the abdomen, such as towels, broken instruments, rubber tubes, or even forceps. When surgical items are retained in the body, some patients remain asymptomatic such that they never discover any foreign item in their body. Others get so sick and require another surgery to be conducted to remove the item. In the process, some developmental disabilities while others lose their lives. If you or your loved one has discovered that a surgical item was accidentally left in their body, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Understanding Retained Foreign Objects During Surgery
Surgery activities resulting in unintentional foreign objects being left in the body result in litigations due to clinical negligence. These are potentially risky medical errors. According to statistics, retained surgical items due to lack of informed consent accounts for nearly a third of malpractice litigations. Such litigations are expensive and tough, requiring the plaintiff to work with top lawyers in Wasilla Alaska, who has specialized in medical malpractice cases. Some of the reasons that result in retaining surgical items after an operation include:
- Unplanned changes when conducting surgery
- Emergency surgeries
- High patient’s BMI
- Poor communication between surgeons, nurses, or any other health care provider involved. Improper communication among personnel handling surgery is the greatest cause of medical negligence in most presented cases.
There are many retained object symptoms. However, the most common ones include inflammation, puss formation, vomiting, blood, trouble urinating, etc. Such may lead to sepsis that requires one to undergo another operation even after the retained object is removed. The retained foreign body can be reduced if there is:
· A clear evaluation of the surgery site
· Regular counting of devices used in surgery by the scrubbing nurse
· Postoperative X-rays and radiopaque markers
The magnitude of retained surgical items are always overlooked as not many doctors and patients report such errors. If your doctor accidentally retained surgical items in your body, you don’t have to suffer due to someone's negligence. The best cause of action to take would be to file a medical malpractice claim and recover any the medical expense you had to undergo, plus the pain and suffering endured when you learned of the foreign object.
Proving Medical Malpractice Claim
The right evidence is needed for you to claim compensation. Taking the necessary steps immediately after learning of the retained foreign object would secure your medical malpractice claim. If you need legal advice on how to go about your case, you may contact a lawyer to discuss your situation through a free consultation. However, you need to ask the below questions in a way to obtain proof:
· Did the surgeon or other operating room personnel fail to maintain a standard of care?
· Did they breach their duty of care? After every surgery, the items being used must be accounted for.
· Did you suffer further injuries as a result? Many patients suffer from other complications after retained objects left in their bodies. The injury must be directly related to the retained object.
If the answers to the above questions are yes, then the theory of negligence must apply. However, there must be a burden of proof showing that the procedure done resulted in the retained foreign objects. Remember that you must be within the statute of limitation when filing any claim for you to win in any medical malpractice case. For your retained object claim, you should ensure to bring your case within:
· Two years after learning of the retained foreign object: According to Alaska medical malpractice laws, you should file the claim starting from the date the harm was inflicted.
· In some cases, you can file the claim two years from when you discovered that surgical items were left in your body. But you have to prove that you never discovered the retained object or could not have discovered the harm. Some patients show symptoms within days. Others may take several months or years before they discover. If others discover symptoms, they may not be quick enough to connect them with the surgery they underwent.
Working With A Seasoned Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Surgical errors can have long-lasting negative effects on the patient. Your surgeon may have left sponges in your abdomen after surgery, and maybe the medical team at the operating room discovered a count discrepancy but failed to locate the missing item. If no action such as radio-frequency action was taken, you might have a claim. Retained foreign objects may even lead to death. Though surgery's main reason is to help the patient recover faster; any object left accidentally may trigger further complications to the patient. There is no point in suffering due to someone’s negligence. Consider contacting a medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your case and help you file a valid claim.