When Surgeons Leave Something Behind

When Surgeons Leave Something Behind

Many surgeries involve removing an organ or a mass such as a diseased gallbladder or a tumor. But what happens when a surgeon or member of the surgical team leaves something in the patient that was not intended to be left? When this occurs, the item left is referred to as a “retained foreign object.”

While rare, it does happen. According to some sources, thousands of individuals each year have objects mistakenly left in their body during surgery. What are left behind? While sponges are the most common, a variety of objects have been left inside patients including needles, scalpels, scissors, forceps, even surgical masks and gloves.

The consequences of having a retained foreign object can be serious and often include subsequent surgical procedures. These objects are typically discovered only after an individual develops symptoms which can include:

  • Swelling
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Severe Pain
  • Digestive System Issues
  • Fever
  • Internal Organ Damage
  • Death

When an instrument or material is left in a patient’s body, the long-term consequences are often unpredictable. We’re here to help. If you or a loved one has experienced this serious situation, contact us.

medical malpractice