Leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient following a surgery is considered to be a "never event," meaning it should never happen at a Florida health care center. However, there are rare cases when this does occur and results in complications months or even years later. One such recently discovered incident occurred to a Japanese woman.
According to reports, the 42-year-old woman had been experiencing the bloated feelings in her lower abdomen for several years. During an examination, health care professionals felt two masses that were located on either side of her abdomen close to her hip bones. A CT scan found two masses in those areas. She ultimately underwent surgery to remove the masses. When the doctors cut the masses open, it was discovered that they were in fact surgical sponges that had become encased in what were described as "thick, fibrous walls."
It was determined that the sponges were left behind during one of the woman's two C-sections. However, it was not known if the sponges were left during the first C-section, which happened nine years prior, or the second, which was performed six years prior. The woman was able to go home five days after the removal of the sponges. Her symptoms reportedly disappeared following the surgery to remove the sponges.
When a patient undergoes surgery or other medical procedures, he or she expects to be treated to the best of the doctors' abilities. In the event a surgical tool or other foreign object is left behind after surgery and results in complications, the patient may have the grounds to seek compensation. A medical malpractice attorney may assist with filing a claim against the doctors and hospital for negligence. In some cases, the hospital may seek to settle with the injured patient; however, if the offered settlement does not cover the damages, the attorney could litigate.