Over $850 Million in Verdicts and Settlements
AV Preeminent badge
Super Lawyers badge
Avvo Rating badge
Best Law Firms badge
TNTL badge

Foreign Object Inside The Body: Negligently Leaving Foreign Objects after Surgery

In a 21st century dominated by technology and medical advances, patients who are scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure generally expect that the surgery will be performed skillfully, competently and without complication. One of the most disturbing, but not altogether uncommon, surgical errors that occurs is when a surgeon leaves a foreign object inside the body after performing an operation. This negligence can, in some instances, lead to a number of dangerous health complications including life–threatening infections, internal bleeding, nerve injury, and extreme pain or discomfort. In our experience, the most common foreign bodies that are left inside bodies are sponges, needles, gauze, metal clamps, and sometimes, surgical instruments. Typically, the retention of surgical sponges probably occurs the most frequently of all foreign bodies that are left inside patients following a surgical procedure.  Naturally, when these objects are left inside a person's body, a second invasive procedure is necessary to remove them, thereby resulting in additional hospitalization, prolonged wound healing and recovery time, missed work, increased medical expenses and physical/emotional pain and suffering.  In addition, some patients become extremely ill and develop complications resulting from the foreign body being left inside their body.  These illnesses can progress to extremely debilitating conditions that end up costing a patient dearly.

It has been suggested that issues of communication in the operating room are at the heart of the problem of retained foreign bodies because of misunderstandings; i.e., cross-cultural (nurse to a surgeon), heirarchical (captain and crew) or structural (medical staff vs. hospital staff).   There can also be a wide divide between the levels of training and experience among different people working together as an OR staff and styles of communication may be different.  These differences should be manageable, however, as retained foreign bodies are generally regarded as a "never" event, meaning that they should never happen absent negligence on the part of someone. 

As experienced Baltimore, Maryland medical malpractice attorneys, we have successfully settled or received favorable trial verdicts arising out of a surgeon's negligence in leaving a foreign object inside the body following surgery in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas.  These cases, however, require a complete and detailed understanding of the appropriate pre–operative and operative procedures of each of the various health care providers who are involved in the particular surgery. For example, in every surgical procedure, the health care providers are responsible for ensuring that there is an initial count of all of the surgical instruments, sponges, clamps, towels that will be utilized during the surgery. At the completion of the surgery, at least one health care provider is charged with ensuring that the same number of instruments or surgical devices have been removed from the surgical field. Failure to accurately document this count can lead to a foreign object being retained inside the body.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog - Surgery Malpractice
Client Reviews
“Great Lawyer and staff, very diligent and organized about gathering facts and information. Keeps you informed every step of the way. Very helpful with explaining the process in layman's terms and offering sound advice. Successful negotiations with settling the suit. Overall very satisfied with the results and work done by Andy and his team. I would highly recommend.” Christine
“Andy is an incredible person and lawyer. He studies the case and works hard preparing. He takes over the courtroom, but always very professional and courteous, but all eye and ear are on his every word when he speaks, and presence his well thought out case. I was scared, knowing nothing about the legal profession, but Andy stuck with me every step of the way... " Kathy
“Andy represented me and my firm many years ago in a very complex civil litigation matter. I knew he was smart (Duke Law School) and I knew he was successful (several $100 million recoveries), but I was astounded how hard he works. He spends the time to read every word on every page of every document. This may sound like something that should be expected of a every lawyer... " Steve