There are many urban legends and rumors floating around the Internet about patients who find out their doctor stitched them up and left crazy things like wristwatches and whole scalpels inside their bodies. While these stories may be fabricated, or a little extreme, the truth is that objects are often left inside surgery patients.

Some of objects commonly left behind after surgery include: 

  • sponges and gauze;
  • needles;
  • broken pieces of equipment;
  • surgical tubing; and
  • clamps.

Sponges and gauze are the most common of all objects left inside the patient's body after a surgical procedure. This is because of the ease of compacting them into incisions, making them easily missed. Also, they tend to blend in with the surrounding tissues as they often take on the color of the fluids they absorb. Some procedures involve hundreds of sponges, making counting and keeping track of all of them quite difficult. 

The surgical nurses are typically the ones who keep count of the sponges used and retrieved in a procedure, not the surgeons who actually use them. This leaves more room for error when the person applying the sponge is not the one making sure it is removed and accounted for. In recent years, new technology such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) strips have been used to allow sponges to be scanned inside the body and removed before the incision is closed.

Unfortunately, the new sponges are part of a system that is expensive to implement for some hospitals, and it has not become a standard. Sponges are just one of the many objects that can be left inside the body after surgery that can result in the need for a medical malpractice claim.

Contacting a Fairfax Medical Malpractice Attorney

You don't have to deal with insurance companies and hospitals alone when you're looking to file a medical malpractice claim in Virginia. Fairfax medical malpractice attorney Ben Glass fights to help victims in the Virginia and D.C. areas settle their medical malpractice claims.

Before you go any further with your decision, order a copy of my complimentary guide to Virginia medical malpractice claims, Why Most Victims of Medical Malpractice Never Recover a Dime. To set up a no-cost consultation, contact me today - (703) 584-7277.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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