What Happens When Hospital Staff Fail to Remove Surgical Sponges?

Anytime you go under the knife in New Mexico, you assume some degree of risk, but the risks you face decrease to some extent when you have a competent, attentive medical team tending to your needs. Regrettably, however, surgical errors are actually quite common, and one such error, which involves surgeons or surgical assistants failing to remove surgical sponges after surgery, happens more than you might like to think.

Though Live Science reports that failing to remove surgical sponges is classified as a “never event,” meaning it is something that should absolutely never happen in medical settings, it still does, although there is some disparity over exactly how common an occurrence this actually is. Current estimates suggest that surgeons and medical professionals fail to remove sponges from patient bodies in somewhere between 1 in 5,500 operations and 1 in 18,760 operations. However, the occurrence appears to be more common among women who are undergoing gynecological surgeries.

So, what kind of trouble can it cause when medical professionals fail to remove sponges from patient bodies? Some women who had sponges left behind in their bodies after undergoing Cesarean sections and other procedures found that they experienced severe cramping, bloating and abdominal pain for years after their surgeries.

Additionally, some of the women who suffered these symptoms had a hard time identifying the cause of their issues, which meant that some saw their symptoms persist far longer than was necessary. While some hospitals are working to decrease the likelihood of such incidents by establishing checklists medical staff can use to make sure they removed all foreign objects from patient bodies, the risk of having a sponge left behind remains for anyone undergoing surgery.

This information is educational in nature and not a substitute for legal advice.

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