One of the most serious mistakes that a surgical team can make is to leave an implement behind when the procedure is done. The best-case scenario is simply that the patient has discomfort and needs another procedure to remove the item. The worst case, of course, is that the patient is injured, becomes incredibly sick or even passes away as a result.
This type of error is often considered a “never” event, meaning it should never happen, but it does. It is important for patients and medical teams to understand this risk. To begin, let’s take a look at items that may be forgotten most often.
From sponges to needles, almost anything can get left behind
Medical experts who study this issue have noted many times that it’s a preventable mistake, but they also note that it continues to happen all too often. The foreign objects that these studies often identified include:
- Stapler parts
- Sharp pieces
- Broken instruments (and parts)
In some cases, it could be that a sharp piece breaks off of an instrument and the surgical team just does not notice until the procedure is complete. In other cases, entire instruments are forgotten and overlooked. Reasons for a mistake like this include a surgical team that is rushing, an oversight at some level or simply the fact that the item — such as a sponge designed specifically to soak up blood — blends in too well.
Have you suffered harm from a surgical mistake?
If you have been harmed by a surgical mistake or any other type of medical malpractice, you need to know what options you have to seek financial compensation. Holding a negligent surgeon accountable can help prevent others from suffering the same problems.