An out-of-state hospital has settled a medical malpractice lawsuit brought by a 47-year-old veteran. The patient underwent surgery on May 2008 to remove a cancerous left kidney, and the surgeons ended up left in not one but TWO surgical towels by mistake. While the cancer was effectively removed, after two months with the towels left inside of him he became very sick and developed an abscess which required hospitalization. A CT scan of his abdomen revealed the two surgical towels and was told that finding one towel was “ridiculous, but tow is atrocious.”
Yesterday, I discussed the statute of limitations or medical malpractice cases. Now today, that discuss is pertinent. Recall from yesterday, that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is 2 ½ years. But, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations and one such exception is the discovery doctrine. So when the patient discovers the two towels left inside of him, he now has one year to bring the lawsuit; this is what saves his claim. Since the actually surgery was in 2008, the limitations period would have expired in 2010. But the discovery provision saves it.
A while ago I also discussed how foreign objects cases are more common than we would like or hope. The fact that two towels were left in this patient is just outrageous! That means the surgical staff really made big mistakes when it came to protocol and completed the surgery correctly. Hospital guidelines and American Medical Association guidelines must not have been followed. I think the amount was a little but low because there were two towels, the patient is older and the injuries might have a greater impact on him, and the fact that it was in so long that it created an abscess.
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.