Foreign Objects Left in Patients are Medical Malpractice

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

Every patient who has undergone surgery should be concerned about foreign objects unintentionally left inside him or herself at the conclusion of the surgical procedure.  In the legal profession, this falls within the scope of foreign object medical malpractice.

Experienced Kingston medical malpractice attorneys know that this problem occurs routinely and has been a problem for so long that the medical profession has various names for the “complication”.

Medical professionals call objects accidently left inside patients’ bodies, retained foreign bodies, retained surgical items, gossypiboma which is simply a fancy name for a retained surgical sponge, and unintended retained foreign object.  Of course, each of these names comes with an abbreviation, RFB, RSI, RSS, and URFB.

No matter what it is called, any object left inside a patient’s body by surgical staff without being intentionally left there is a valid ground for medical malpractice law suits.  This includes surgical sponges, clamps, scalpels, gauze, and even fragments of these or any other foreign object. 

Why is this medical malpractice?  It is malpractice because unintentionally leaving such objects inside a patient deviates from the standard of care due to patients.  These mistakes are unreasonable and cause foreseeable harm.  More importantly perhaps is the fact that these mistakes are entirely preventable. 

When proving a medical malpractice allegation, the plaintiff must always show that there was a doctor patient relationship and that the treating doctor deviated from the standard of care due to him or her.  There must also be proof that the deviation caused the patient’s harm and that the plaintiff suffered damages. 

Unintentionally leaving a foreign object in a patient’s body is always a deviation from accepted medical treatment.  The plaintiff will still have to produce an expert in the practice of medicine to explain such to a jury during trial.  Proving causation, injury and damages may also need expert testimony. 

Patients with retained foreign bodies have suffered from serious infections, pain, discomfort, and have to undergo additional surgeries in order to remediate the problem.  Hospital stays are lengthened as well. 

If you have had surgery and are suffering from pain, or feel a “mass” on your body, and if a doctor has diagnosed you with an infection you might have a retained foreign body inside your person.   Doctors can perform procedures such as x-rays and CT scans to determine if there is a foreign object in your body.  However, reading the test results is not easy and many times the object’s presence is still missed. 

Compounding the problem is that foreign objects may take years to detect; patients may simply not experience signs of distress for months and years after the surgery took place. 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

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