Latest News & Views

Posted on 28th February 2018

Surgical Sponges Left in Patient After Surgery

A woman had complained about severe and painful bloating for years. After a CT scan at a hospital, it was found that there were two masses in her abdomen. She was then referred for surgery, a laparotomy, where two gauze sponges were discovered. These sponges had become attached to her large intestine and stomach tissue which lead to painful and severe bloating pains.

The woman had received two C-sections, one nine years ago and one six years ago. The doctor suspects that it was during one of these operations that the sponges were left. However, it is unclear in which occasion the mistake was made. Sadly, the surgeon refused to admit the error on the grounds of lack of proof. While the patient had the sponges removed and her symptoms disappeared, she did not receive an apology.

It seems that the woman is not alone in this mistake. It is believed that many surgical items are left in patients’ bodies during surgery. In America alone, there are up to 6,000 cases a year of surgical instruments being left in the body. In fact, 70% of these instruments are sponges, while 30% are other implements such as clamps.

What Negligence Claimline say

Many surgeons and hospitals have a rigorous, check-in, check-out system for instruments used in surgery on patients which has to be counter-signed. However, in rare incidents, surgical implements may be left in the body. When implements are left in the body, it can have severe implications such as pain or infection which could lead to death.

Surgeons, classify instruments being left in the body as ‘never events’ as the vetting and validation should mean these situations should never occur, but when they do, patients may need compensation to cover the cost of the damage and further implications caused.

At Negligence Claimline, we can help you to claim if you have suffered a surgical mistake. Our team of experienced solicitors can help to provide you with the support you need to make a claim so that you receive the compensation you deserve. For a free claims assessment, get in touch by email, phone or our contact form.