Injuries due to retained surgical instruments

Injuries due to surgical instruments retained in a patient, is clearly medical malpractice. Seek legal support from our attorneys today to file a case. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to retained surgical instruments, attorneys at RMFW Law can help you make this right and increase the size of your bank account.

Surgical instruments being retained in a patient's body after surgery is not uncommon. A medical error as serious as this can cause severe complications and even death.

Retained Surgical Instrument (RSI) Occurrences

Retained surgical instruments are foreign bodies that are not devised to be left inside the patient's body after surgery. These tools and substances may only be meant for use during the surgical procedure. When surgeons overlook these items that have been inserted inside the patient's body for the surgery, complications arise and it constitutes medical malpractice. Some examples of retained surgical devices are sponges, scalpels, knife blades, needles, towels, forceps, tweezers, suction tubes & tips, clamps, or scissors.

The most commonly retained surgical devices are sponges, ribbon, or malleable retractors, and the abdomen is the most common place where instruments are retained during surgery.

Almost every surgery involves using surgical clips and staples inside the body. Sometimes, these may be required for retention in the body, but not always. When these clips migrate within the body, they cause complications for the patient, but this does not count as an act of negligence by the surgeon. A medical malpractice originates when staples, clips, or other instruments are left in the patient's body, where they were not meant to be.

Risks leading to RSI

Risks leading to RSI include:

  • Emergency surgery - Organizing a medical team quickly during emergency
  • Weight of the patient - The higher the patient's body-mass-index is, larger the chances of RSI
  • Deviating from planned procedure - Unforeseen complications leading to change of plans during surgery
  • Miscounting - When instruments are not accurately accounted for before and after surgery
  • Communication - When the surgical team have a problem communicating about the procedure/instruments involved

Reducing the risk of RSI

According to the World Journal of Surgery, study shows that approximately 1,500-2,000 cases of retained surgical instruments are recorded in the United States in a year. If the device retained in the patient's body is not expected to cause any harm to the patient, then the surgeon(s) are not obligated to compensate to the patient. However, any complications, injuries, or side effects that arise due to the retained devices can make the surgical team liable for compensation to the patient and his family.

A surgery that's invasive in nature may involve hundreds of instruments and surgical equipment. An accurate account of these instruments must be recorded and rechecked before and after surgery, to ensure that no inappropriate foreign bodies are retained or left in the patient's body after the procedure.

When a medical malpractice happens, the patient and his family can pursue legal action against them to compensate them for their loss and suffering. Contact our New York City medical malpractice attorneys for the most suitable legal advice. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff have law offices located in Astoria, Queens, New York City and two locations in Brooklyn. Call 212-344-1000 to make your desire of legal revenge and justice a reality.

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