Medical Malpractice: Foreign Objects Forgotten in Patients

In Medical Malpractice by radmin

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As we’ve discussed in the past, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. From birth injuries to surgical errors and misdiagnosis, there are numerous different types of medical malpractice. One of the most common medical errors that we see – and one of the worst – is when an item is left inside a patient. The very idea of this is disturbing, to say the least, but it happens more often than you think. One such story recently occurred in North Texas and is one of the most shocking we’ve ever come across.

Debra Wilson, a Duncanville resident, recently discovered that her Parkland doctors accidentally left an 8-inch catheter inside her body seven years ago. Perhaps an even more disturbing detail is that they allegedly knew about the mistake and failed to inform her. Wilson was left to believe that the item left inside her was a stent – or small tube – that was intended to help blood flow. However, this was simply not true. Upon further investigation doctors learned that Wilson had an 8-inch-long piece of plastic tube inside of her. She is now planning on suing the hospital for medical malpractice.

Ms. Wilson’s case is not uncommon – unfortunately. Over the years we have seen numerous cases of a retained item left inside a patient after surgery. In fact, this problem has become increasingly common in recent years. One of the most difficult aspects of these types of cases is that they are 100% preventable. Hospitals have numerous safeguards in place to prevent retained foreign objects after surgery, however, sometimes these rules are not followed and the medical personnel is negligent.

Here is a look at the most common retained foreign objects:

  • Sponges
  • Towels
  • Clamps
  • Retractors
  • Gauze
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Other Medical Instruments

While these are the items typically left inside a patient, other instruments and items – such as the catheter in Ms. Wilson’s case – can also be forgotten inside a person’s body after surgery. According to data retrieved from Medicare, the cost to a hospital for leaving something inside of a patient is roughly $60,000. Keep in mind that this is only a small portion of the costs involved when a medical malpractice suit is filed. In some instances, hospitals can be sued for $200,000 or more per malpractice case.

In order for a patient to win a malpractice case, the following must be shown:

  • The doctor, nurse, or other hospital staff member owed the patient a duty of care
  • The provider failed to provide that duty of care
  • This failure lead to the patient’s injury

To learn more about medical malpractice in Texas, please contact Rad Law Firm today. Our Dallas medical malpractice attorneys have represented patients on a wide range of these types of cases and are prepared to do the same for you.