Indiana medical malpractice lawyers often deal with cases where surgeons have failed to remove from the patient sponges or instruments used during the course of surgery. The frequency with which this problem occurs is uncertain. However, an article in the journal Abdominal Surgery suggests that retained sponges may occur once in every 1,000 to 1,500 intra-abdominal surgeries.
A retained surgical sponge can lead to a host of problems for the patient, including infection, pain, additional surgery, and even death. The American College of Surgeons has recognized the seriousness of the problem by publishing guidelines to help surgeons avoid the mistake. Those guidelines include documentation of the results of surgical item counts and documentation of the action taken if there is a discrepancy in the count. Some hospitals have gone further. For instance, the Mayo Clinic uses bar-coded surgical sponges to make sure the sponges are not left in the patient.
A retained sponge or surgical instrument is almost always the result of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of medical malpractice, the Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Garau Germano Hanley & Pennington, P.C. may be able to help. Contact us for a free consultation.