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Sponge left inside woman undetected for four years

Every day, many residents throughout Pennsylvania undergo surgical procedures for a variety of reasons. Every surgery, no matter how minor or severe, carries with it a certain level of risk. For too many patients, however, the risks involve preventable problems such as a surgeon mistake or actions of negligent operating room staff. Having a piece of surgical equipment left inside a patient is among the top forms of surgical errors that can cause serious injury to victims.

According to the Loyola University Heath System, as many as 1,500 items are left inside patients’ bodies every year. A California woman has recently initiated a lawsuit against a hospital in Simi Valley for problems that resulted from a sponge being left inside her abdominal cavity after a hysterectomy and bladder surgery in 2007. In her case, the sponge stayed in her body for four years and was only detected after another surgery in 2011 was conducted to remove her ovaries in response to otherwise unexplained bleeding.

Between 2007 and 2011, the woman experienced multiple problems yet every time she sought medical help, the sponge was not found. On one occasion, she was simply told to eliminate spicy food from her diet. On another occasion, she was told she simply had severe constipation. By the time the sponge was found, so much scar tissue had developed around it that a large amount of her intestines had to be removed. The hospital has been fined $25,000 by the state for the error.

Every person seeking medical care deserves to trust in the safety of that care. When problems happen, whether because of a careless surgeon, a wrong-site surgery or more, compensation is deserved. Talking to an attorney can help to identify the ways to receive that.

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

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