What to Do When a Surgeon Leaves Behind a Medical Instrument Inside of You

If you have extreme pain or other unexpected symptoms after a surgical procedure, someone on the surgery team might have inadvertently left a medical instrument inside of you. In this event, you need to know what to do.

First, get immediate medical care. These situations are medical emergencies. As soon as you are able, contact a lawyer who can preserve the medical records you will need to prove your case. The very people who might have committed malpractice are the ones who have the records that could prove them guilty. We know how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit and can help you take legal action right away to prevent them from destroying the evidence.

How Serious It Is if a Surgeon Leaves a Medical Instrument Inside of You

A national quality control organization for the medical field lists the top five categories of Serious Reportable Events (SREs) that can happen during surgery or other invasive procedures. Unintentionally leaving medical instruments, sponges, clamps, and other foreign objects inside the patient top this list.

There can be life-threatening consequences for the patient if the surgeon accidentally leaves foreign objects inside the body after closing up the surgical incision.

The patient could experience:

  • Extreme pain
  • Potentially fatal infections
  • Perforated organs

How We Will Prove the Surgeon’s Negligence

Although the patient is present for their own operation, they are either unconscious or unable to observe the procedure for themselves. We can collect records to show the court what happened, including documentation from:

  • The hospital or surgery center
  • The surgeon
  • Your primary care physician
  • The anesthesiologist
  • The laboratory
  • Any other involved health care providers

The Elements of Medical Malpractice

We will have to prove these four elements to hold one or more of the medical professionals or facilities liable for medical malpractice:

  1. The medical professional owed you a duty of care. All physicians must exercise the same level of competence and care that other doctors would use in similar situations. The law imposes the duty of care on surgeons for their patients.
  2. Your surgeon did not treat you with the required duty of care. Medical negligence happens when a doctor makes a mistake that a typical, prudent physician would not have made in a similar situation. We prove medical negligence by having a medical expert testify about what your doctor did that was negligent.
  3. The breach of the duty of care caused the harm to you. Our medical expert witness will establish this element of medical malpractice.
  4. We can measure the harm you suffered in dollars or physical consequences. Your harm is quantifiable if, for example, you had to have a second surgery to remove the medical instrument that the first surgeon accidentally left inside of you. Your medical records will prove this element of medical malpractice.

Damages for Surgical Errors

In many medical malpractice cases that involve the surgeon accidentally leaving a medical instrument inside of a patient, the compensable damages in a medical malpractice claim can include:

  • Additional medical expenses. The cost of the original surgery is usually not part of the damages claim, because you already needed that procedure. Leaving the medical instrument inside of you, however, most likely required a second surgery to remove the foreign object and repair any harm from the mistake. All such expenses can be part of the damages claim.
  • Additional lost wages. Just as with medical expenses, the surgeon is not liable for wages you lost while recuperating from the original surgery. The doctor can be responsible for income you missed out on because of complications from the foreign object and recuperation time from subsequent procedures to remove the medical instrument and repair any resulting harm.
  • Pain and suffering. A victim of medical malpractice can get compensation for the physical pain and mental anguish that resulted from the negligence.
  • Other damages. If appropriate, a patient can recover compensation for other losses like disability, decreased earning potential, disfigurement, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Getting Legal Help for Surgical Mistakes

If you suspect that you or a loved one might be the victim of a surgical mistake, get medical attention right away, then call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC. We can investigate the situation and let you know if there was a medical error that could make you eligible for compensation. Please call us today at 404-474-0804, so that we can schedule your free consultation. There is no obligation.