When facing an upcoming surgery, the primary concern of many patients is their health, treatment and recovery. However, what many New Mexico residents might not realize is the dangers of surgical errors that could result in debilitating consequences. Costly mistakes like wrong-site surgery, carelessness, misdiagnosis and even forgetting surgical tools inside of a patient’s body are all real possibilities.

An article shared by USA Today detailed the stories of two patients who experienced unexplainable pain and loss of function following what should have been routine surgeries. In one instance, a woman who had previously undergone a cesarean section, was found to have a surgical sponge left behind in her abdomen. In the other case, a man who had surgery for a digestive issue had also experienced noticeably deteriorating health as the result of a sponge being left in his gut as well. In both cases, the forgotten sponges had become infused with critical intestines causing extreme pain and lasting damage.

While medical equipment of many kinds has been found in the bodies of suffering patients, sponges are the most common culprit at nearly 70 percent. They are followed by needles at less than 10 percent, and surgical instruments at about 5 percent.

According to CBS News, a forgotten surgical tool has many detrimental side effects including:

  • Physical pain
  • Emotional trauma
  • Hospitalization
  • Death

In many cases, mistakes are not uncovered until the patient goes back to the doctor for a follow up visit after experiencing unexplained pain. Patients who have recently undergone surgery should pay attention to the condition of their health and immediately report any worsening symptoms.