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Instruments Retained After Surgery

Medical Malpractice Law

Instruments Retained After Surgery

Located in Memphis, TN

Once the team of doctors and assistants complete your surgical procedure, they should be certain that all instruments and tools that they used in the surgery are clear from your body. Here’s the problem – that isn’t always the case.

Retained surgical instruments (RSIs), also referred to as retained foreign bodies, refer to any objects left inside your body following a surgery.

Studies indicate that an average of 5,000 surgeries and procedures result in RSI cases every year in the United States. Of course, this mistake on the surgical team’s behalf could lead to significant health injuries and possibly result in death.



Common Surgical Instruments Left Inside Your Body

Surgeons utilize an array of instruments during every procedure. While each procedure requires some specific instruments, other tools are used for mostly every procedure.

Frequent surgical objects left in the body include the following:

  • Sponge
  • Towel
  • Needle
  • Scissor
  • Wire
  • Clamp
  • Scope
  • Glove
  • Suction tips
  • Tubes
  • Drainage tool
  • Scalpel

Sponges consistently rank at the top of the list for most frequent item left in the body. Why? Sponges suck up. When sponges absorb the blood during the procedure, it often takes the color of the blood and blends with the area of operation.

The most common area of the body for an RSI incident is the abdomen. With a large surface area and numerous organs to work around, the abdomen creates more opportunities for an instrument or sponge to hide.

Note that the surgical team can also leave staples and surgical clips in your body. This is common among surgeries as these instruments help you fully recover. While there is always a possibility that one could form a lawsuit because of staples or surgical clips left in your body, these are harder to win in court because they were meant to stay in your body.

Common Reasons for Surgical Instruments Left Inside Your Body

We may know what is running through your mind – how can someone leave a surgical instrument in a body?

The incident is certainly inadvertent. No one purposely leaves an instrument in a patient’s body. Mistakes happen, though, and the surgical team may be liable.

Common reasons for leaving an instrument include the following:

Emergency Surgery

When a surgery warrants immediate action, assembling a team in hurried conditions can be challenging. The teammates may not work together often, creating confusion among the operation.

Unexpected Complications

When a procedure takes a turn as a result of complications, the surgical team must act fast, increasing the chances that they may miss a step.

Instrument Miscount

Before a surgery begins, standard practice is to count all available instruments – sponges, scalpels, scissors, tubes, and more. The team should count all instruments at the conclusion of surgery as well. If the count is different, that is a clear indication that an instrument has been left.

Poor Communication

We can all understand this. On occasion, poor communication results in failure. This exists in the healthcare industry as well.

If you believe that you or someone you love has a case against the surgical team that performed your procedure, do not hesitate to contact our team at The Chiozza Law Firm in Memphis. You should act immediately so that we can discuss your procedure, what RSI was left behind, and how to proceed.

Call us at 901-526-9494 or complete our contact form below. Either way, we will schedule a free consultation with you and see how we can move forward with your case.

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