Which surgical instruments are often left inside patients?

When a patient is told that he or she will need a surgical procedure performed on him or her to alleviate their symptoms, the patient may often feel confident in knowing that after some rest and recuperation, that he or she will be back to normal once again soon. For as many as 6,000 patients each year in the United States, though, their condition gets even worse after a surgery is performed on them.

This deterioration in their health is often caused by a completely avoidable reason. Either surgical tools or other foreign objects are left in the patient's body when it's closed up. These types of events occur when attending medical staff fail to take necessary precautions to avoid this happening.

It should be noted that leaving surgical instruments inside the body isn't a small thing either. It can cause serious health complications for the patient and even kill them.

Contrary to what we see on medical dramas shown on television, there's often more than a single scapel, some gauze, forceps, clamps, scissors, needles and suctioning devices used on patients during a surgical procedure. Depending on the type of complexity of the surgery performed, as many as 250 different tools could be used for just one operation.

In addition to the aforementioned, objects that are often left inside of patients include such things as either nitrile or latex gloves, wires, scopes, surgical masks, towels, rulers and sponges.

Sponges are the object most commonly left behind in a patient. Because they're used to sop up blood that puddles inside the body, they often blend in with the patient's internal organs. If proper protocol is not adhered to in the operating room, then it increases the likelihood of something being left behind inside of a patient.

Objects that have been left behind in patients are often discovered once he or she begins experiencing complications. In most cases, these oversights are only caught once the patient begins experiencing problems with digestion, intense pain, fever, an infection, swelling or internal bleeding.

Oftentimes, once these symptoms appear, the patient is facing an obstruction or has suffered organ damage. Surgeries to remove these objects left behind may result in the patient losing a portion of his or her organ or death.

If a surgeon left some type of foreign object in you during a recent procedure, then a Tucson, Arizona, surgical errors attorney can advise you of your rights in your case.

Source: Thought Co., "15 objects commonly left inside the body after surgery," Regina Bailey, accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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