Foreign Object

It may be hard to believe but doctors and hospitals negligently leave various types of surgical objects behind after surgery!

The National Center for Biotechnology Information performed a study that found that surgical objects are left behind in 1 out of every 1,000 surgeries. The most common areas in which surgical instruments are left behind include the abdomen, pelvis, and retroperitoneum.

The most common “foreign bodies” or surgical instrumentation left behind are:

  • Sponges
  • Gloves
  • Surgical masks
  • Scalpels
  • Forceps
  • Clamps
  • Scopes
  • Needles
  • Scissors

There is no excuse for leaving surgical material or an instrument inside a patient.  During the course of surgery, the nurses and the doctors are supposed to be working together during an “instrument count” to ensure that anything that goes into the body, comes back out.  With a proper instrument count, nothing gets left behind.  That is why it is done.

Leaving foreign objects is very dangerous because the body will “reject” an object that does not belong there.  As a result, this usually leads to an infection that can only be treated with surgical removal of the object and treatment of the infection.  Retained foreign bodies can cause many complications from infection to death and everything in between. 

Complications Caused by Retained Surgical Instruments

Complications arising from retained surgical instrument or foreign body greatly depends on the type of instrument that was left behind. In some cases, patients might not realize they have a foreign object inside their body for months or even years.

In others, however, patients might experience the following complications:

  • Obstructions
  • Digestive issues
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Infections
  • Organ damage or perforations
  • Severe pain
  • Death

Here at Lebson Tangredi PLLC we have handled numerous retained foreign object cases, and our attorneys are ready to speak with you.

A medical malpractice attorney will work with a medical expert to determine why a retained surgical instrument or foreign object was left behind after your surgery. If the expert and your attorney believe that the surgeon’s treatment failed to meet the expected standard of care and caused you injury and harm, you might have a viable medical malpractice claim.