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Retained objects more common after surgery than you may expect

Because they are professionals, you and many other Kentucky patients undoubtedly want to trust your doctors and other medical staff to do what is best in terms of your care. While the majority of medical staff do adhere to these standards of care and try to maintain a thorough and conscious demeanor throughout any treatment or procedures you may need, mistakes can still happen.

When a medical mistake occurs, the resulting issues can vary from minor to deadly. Unfortunately, a serious problem could come about due to a seemingly minor oversight by a member of the medical staff. For instance, a nurse or other individual could miscount the number of medical tools present after surgery, and this miscount could result in an object being left in your body.

Not as uncommon as you might hope

Frighteningly enough, objects get left behind after surgery thousands of times a year in the United States alone. In fact, anywhere from 4,500 to 6,000 events of this type occur. Though you may wonder how a medical instrument or other tool could get left in your body or another patient's body, it could happen quite easily. As mentioned, an error as simple as miscounting the number of tools could allow medical staff to overlook an object still in your body.

Common sites of retainment

Though a surgeon or other staff member could leave an object at any site of surgery, some parts of the body typically see this happen more often than others. The three most common sites of retained objects include the abdomen, chest cavity and vagina.

Commonly retained objects

Because surgeons can use around 250 tools and instruments during a single surgery, it may seem more obvious how a miscount could occur. Additionally, some tools are small or otherwise hard to see, and as a result, staff members could easily overlook them. Nonetheless, this mistake should not happen. Some of the most commonly retained objects include:

  • Sponges
  • Needles
  • Tubes
  • Forceps
  • Scalpels
  • Surgical masks
  • Surgical gloves

Sponges are often even more easily overlooked because they can blend in with the surgery site as they soak up blood.

Common negative outcomes

When an object remains in your body after surgery, you could experience issues such as infection, internal bleeding, organ damage, severe pain and even death. Due to the seriousness of these outcomes, a retained object needs proper attention, which often means additional surgical procedures. If you have experienced injuries or illness due to a retained object or lost a loved one due to this medical mistake, you may wish to consider filing a medical malpractice claim against those considered responsible.

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