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Retained sponge results in harm and medical malpractice lawsuit


Massachusetts' residents who elect to have a surgical operation hope that certain steps are properly followed. They want incisions made in the right order, the right body part operated on, and the operation itself to be successful in remedying their problem. However, there are other, seemingly minor, steps that must be taken during a surgical procedure, and failing to do so properly can result in significant harm to a patient.

One of these small, yet very important steps is for medical personnel to do sponge counts. Essentially, this entails counting the number of sponges that are brought into the operating room before the procedure begins, and then counting the sponges again at the end of the surgery. Doing this small count ensures that sponges are not left inside of a patient. Though it may seem like a simple safeguard, a recent medical malpractice lawsuit highlights why a successful sponge count is extremely important.

In 2007, a woman went in to have what was supposed to be a relatively routine hysterectomy. However, days after the operation, the woman started experiencing pain. Though she went back to the hospital and was given X-rays, she was told the pain was related to constipation and she was sent home. A year later, the woman went back to the hospital with blurry vision and sweatiness. Again, she was told she had a gastrointestinal issue.

Then, in 2011, the woman's symptoms worsened to include bleeding. She went to her gynecologist who, after removing the woman's ovaries for fear of cysts, discovered a mass. That mass turned out to be a sponge that was retained during the woman's 2007 hysterectomy that had become encased in scar tissue. In order to remove it, a significant portion of the woman's intestines had to be removed.

Negligence like this should not be tolerated. Therefore, those who have been harmed by medical malpractice should consider filing a lawsuit. Winning on a claim means a victim may recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Then, hopefully, the victim can regain his or her health and those who wronged him or her will be held accountable and will never act negligently again.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Patient Sues Hospital After Forgotten Surgical Sponge Costs Her Portion Of Intestine," Elizabeth Campbell, June 17, 2014

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