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Surgical Tools Left in Patients Account for Thousands of Injuries

Submitted by jrlaw on Jan 17th, 2008

According to the FDA and Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), about 2500 surgery patients leave the hospital with surgical devices such as clamps, and tweezers or pieces of surgical devices that unintentionally fell off during surgery.

The CDRH receives about 1000 reports annually of pieces of medical devices found inside surgery patients and about 1,500 surgery patients are reported to have medical equipment left inside their bodies after surgery.

These items left after surgery can cause serious injuries such as internal infection, blood vessel damage and even death depending on the item and placement. In cases where a patient receives an MRI, the metal objects can shift under the force of the powerful MRI magnet causing internal tearing and bleeding. Radiology equipment can cause the metal objects to reach high temperatures and can burn internal organs, tissue and blood vessels.

These medical mistakes are unacceptable and can only happen due to hospital staff being careless. Medical devices should be examined and accounted for immediately after surgery to prevent leaving anything in the patient, but this common sense practice is seemingly not done in many cases. What's worse is the possibility that doctors and nurses realize their mistake and possibly not informing the patient or taking corrective measures.

If you are in unexpected pain or discomfort after surgery, seek medical advice as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for the surgeon's mistake to cover time off of work, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Contact a medical malpractice attorney to see if you have a case.