Patient is Awarded $275,000 After Doctors Left Surgical Towels Inside Him
Cases where surgeons leave pieces of equipment, surgical sponges or other foreign bodies inside a patient are more common that many of us think.
But given the size of the objects left in a patient at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, this medical malpractice case beggars belief.
Surgical towels – measuring 14-by-11 inches — were found after Robert Sanner, 47, from New Philadelphia, Ohio, had a CAT scan after suffering days of pain and discomfort after a kidney operation.
The patient has won a $275,000 settlement from the federal government in a medical malpractice lawsuit, USA Today reported.
The VA Medical Center has brought in a system that uses radio frequency identification chips to keep track of sponges as well as other surgical equipment, in the wake of the error.
Instances in which surgeons leave objects inside patients clearly breach their duty of care and can cause extreme distress as well as medical complications in patients.
See this video about a patient who had a surgical sponge left inside him.
In 2009 Sophia and Darrell Savage of West Virginia (WV) won $ 2.5 million in a lawsuit after a surgeon left a surgical sponge in Sophia Savage’s abdomen during a hysterectomy operation.
These extreme cases happen far too often. A 2003 study carried out by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health found that 1,500 patients every year are the victims of this type of medical mistake.
This alarming study found mistakes occurred mainly because of stress from emergencies or from complications discovered during surgery.
The study showed that two-thirds of the mistakes happened even though the equipment used for the procedure was counted before and after the operation. It also claimed that these types of mistakes happen more often to overweight patients, because there is more room inside them to lose equipment.
As experienced Virginia (VA) personal injury attorneys we are concerned at the high incidence of these preventable surgical errors.