AUSTIN, Texas. According to USA Today, more than 12 times each day, patients in surgery are sewn up—with sponges and medical tools left inside their bodies. It’s a horrifying, but terrifyingly common scenario. In some cases, these objects can lead to a patient’s death or serious injury. For example, if a doctor leaves a sponge inside a patient’s body, the patient’s body will begin to reject the item, leading to infection, and complications. Some patients can die from these complications. To make matters worse, when patients complain of symptoms, doctors can sometimes dismiss these complaints, which can lead to delays in proper treatment. Doctors and patients may not realize that a patient’s symptoms are linked to the surgery and it can take some time to put two and two together. Objects left inside patient’s bodies need to be removed. Sometimes the consequences of these medical errors can affect patients for the rest of their lives.
According to USA Today, there is no requirement that doctors and hospitals report when sponges and other items are left inside patient’s bodies. Current estimates put these errors at anywhere between 4,000 and 5,000 times each year.
Yet, these errors are relatively simple to prevent. According to the New York Times, a simple checklist can make all the difference in the world. With a checklist, doctors note when they use a surgical tool, and check when they place the surgical tool back on the tray. Checklists have been found to be incredibly effective in preventing surgical errors. Yet, checklists aren’t enough if they don’t actually change doctor’s behavior. For example, a checklist that asks a doctor to wash his or her hands before surgery won’t be effective if the doctor just checks the list without thinking before or after surgery.
Another way that hospitals can prevent these errors is by putting tracking devices on sponges and other surgical equipment. Unfortunately, sometimes hospitals put their bottom lines above patient safety and error reduction. These tracking technologies can cost as little as $12 per surgery.
Lost items are more likely to occur in trauma surgeries or in unexpected surgeries that occur after labor and delivery. Some hospitals are taking more extreme steps to prevent lost items, like subjecting patients to X-rays after surgery. Whatever the method, no patient should have to suffer to due lost items. The complications can be serious, can require that patients undergo more costly surgeries, and the aftercare and rehabilitation can be expensive. If you or a loved one suffered due to medical malpractice, the Robson Law Firm in Austin, Texas may be able to help you. Our lawyers can review your case and fight to hold doctors and hospitals accountable. This kind of medical error should never happen and patients often have the opportunity to seek damages for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering as a result. Visit our firm at https://robsonlawfirm.com/ to learn more about your options and rights.
Robson Law Firm
1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 345-8200