As unlikely as it sounds, surgeons sometimes accidentally leave foreign objects inside patients after surgery. Although it’s rare, it does happen. One missed object could result in years of complications and additional expenses. If your surgeon forgot to remove a sponge or other surgical tool after surgery, you might be eligible to receive compensation by filing a foreign object left in body after surgery lawsuit.
Foreign Object Left in Body After Surgery Symptoms
Any surgical object is at risk of going missing during surgery. As you would expect, most foreign objects are discovered and removed quickly. But sometimes, months and even years can pass before the patient or a medical professional finds the object inside the patient’s body. The most common items left inside a patient after surgery include the following:
- Surgical sponges,
- Drill bit fragments, and
A foreign object left in the body can cause serious complications. After surgery, patients are more vulnerable to infections, adhesions, fistulas, and other complications. Moreover, sharp objects could lacerate vital organs.
Healthcare professionals should pay close attention to post-operative complaints. Foreign object left in body after surgery symptoms include nausea, lethargy, dizziness, or fever. Medical personnel should take note of these symptoms and screen the patient for possible causes, including a foreign object left in the body after surgery. If they fail to do so, the healthcare professional could be liable for malpractice.
Can You Sue for Foreign Object Left in Body After Surgery?
Operating rooms are busy places filled with medical professionals who are under a time crunch to complete complicated procedures. The scene can be chaotic, especially in emergency surgeries or where there are unexpected complications. Surgical teams typically count tools before, during, and after surgery to prevent errors. Systems are in place to keep track of tools to ensure that nothing is left behind.
So, can you sue for foreign object left in body? When surgical objects get left behind in the body, the circumstances surrounding the surgery determine liability. Even under the most stressful circumstances, a physician and their surgical team must exercise reasonable care as they perform their duties. A surgeon unintentionally leaving an object in a patient’s body after surgery can constitute medical malpractice.
However, not all medical errors are medical malpractice. For example, suppose a surgical nurse notices that the surgeon accidentally left a surgical sponge in your abdomen after the operation, but the surgeon immediately reopened the sutures and removed the sponge. In that case, there is likely no quantifiable harm caused by the error. Without measurable harm, you will not be entitled to compensation for medical malpractice.
What to Do If You Suspect a Foreign Object Surgical Error?
If you or a loved one have had surgery and are experiencing post-surgical complications, have been diagnosed with an infection, or feel that something isn’t right following surgery, a foreign object left in the body is possible.
If you have concerns following your surgery, you should take the following steps:
- Get checked by a doctor who can request diagnostic procedures to identify whether the surgical team left a foreign object inside your body;
- Obtain your medical records from the hospital or medical facility that performed the surgery; and
- Consult an attorney who specializes in complex medical malpractice cases.
Working with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is the best way to protect your right to compensation when medical malpractice occurs. The surgeons and hospitals will have a team working to defeat your claim. You should have the best legal team on your side as well. The team at Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen can guide you through the medical malpractice claim process and advocate for your best interests every step of the way.
Statute of Limitations
Missouri’s statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years. That means you must bring a claim within two years of the date the medical malpractice occurred.
Because malpractice injuries are often not discovered immediately, there are some exceptions that can allow you to file your claim after the two-year statute of limitations has expired. It is always best to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you determine when you need to file your claim and if any exceptions apply.
Dempsey Kingland & Osteen Stands Ready to Evaluate Your Case
Founded in 1986, Dempsey Kingsland & Osteen has decades of experience helping patients hold negligent medical providers accountable.
Our firm is widely recognized as the premier medical malpractice law firm in Kansas City, thanks to our track record of success. We have a full-time doctor and nurse on staff who can help our team evaluate your case. You deserve skilled advocates who can approach your matter compassionately while going toe to toe with the toughest opponents.
Contact our Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers today to learn how we can put our experience, resources, and skills to work for you. We charge no fees unless we recover compensation for you.