Video: When Surgical Tools Get Left Behind

Medical Malpractice

It is shocking to imagine that a doctor could leave something behind in a patient. Unfortunately, surgeons and nurses do just that -- leaving sponges, forceps, scissors and surgical instruments. "It's just mind boggling," says Dallas personal injury attorney Kay Van Wey.

“These are ‘never’ events. In the absence of negligence, these things should never happen. There are systems in place to prevent this, but if they are not followed, these things happen,” she said.

Not paying attention

The surgical nurse is responsible for counting sponges and medical instruments – but they can miscount. “Doctors are sometimes at fault, because they can have a fragment of an instrument come loose. They are responsible for inspecting before they close up. Sometimes it's just carelessness, people are rushed and they're not paying attention," Van Wey said.

"The reason things are left behind in patients range from someone who was having a bad day and they really fouled up, all the way to a case I had where we alleged that the surgeon had a drug addiction problem.  He left a sponge behind, it became infected and it caused a life-threating situation for my clients."

What should you do if you feel something isn't right?

"I’ve come to learn from my clients that patient intuition is real. Trust your intuition, and if your doctor is blowing you off, get another doctor."

In any event, if this situation happens to you -- contact a lawyer. “These are 100% preventable medical errors that shouldn't ever happen to anyone. The only way to make hospitals prevent these errors is to hold them accountable. They shouldn't get a pass," Van Wey said.

For More information, call Kay Van Wey at 800) 489-5082 or email her at [email protected].

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