Medical Malpractice and Retained Foreign Objects after Surgery
Medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients. They are expected to uphold the accepted standard, or that which would be provided by a similarly trained medical professional presented with the same circumstances. Unfortunately, many medical professionals are negligent in their care, and patients suffer as a result.
One of the most blatant forms of medical negligence involves retained foreign objects after surgery. Retained objects can lead to severe post-surgical complications. Individuals in Lakeland, FL, Winter Haven, FL, and surrounding areas who suspect they are victims of medical malpractice can work with medical malpractice lawyers at Moody Law to hold at-fault parties accountable for damages.
What Are Retained Foreign Objects?
A retained foreign object, or retained foreign body, is any item left behind in the body after surgery that should not be there, such as a surgical tool, instrument, or material. Surgical teams are responsible for communicating with one another and keeping track of all surgical tools to ensure that foreign objects are removed from the body before surgical incisions are closed. Unfortunately, it is not all that uncommon for negligent medical professionals to leave foreign bodies behind. Examples of retained foreign objects after surgery include:
- Cotton swabs
- Gauze pads
- Surgical sponges
How Do I Know if I Have a Retained Foreign Object after Surgery?
If foreign objects are detected and removed shortly after surgery, they should not cause any significant harm to the patient. Unfortunately, most patients do not realize that a foreign object has been left in their body until it starts to cause uncomfortable side effects or complications. Any of the following symptoms could be a warning sign that a foreign body has been retained after surgery:
- Discolored discharge at the incision site
- Severe pain near the surgical site
- Trouble urinating or passing stools
- Black or bloody stools
- Coughing or vomiting up blood
- Unexplained weight loss
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Overall decline in health following surgery
These types of symptoms may emerge within days of a surgery, or they could develop months or years after treatment.
What to Do if You Suspect a Retained Foreign Object
Retained foreign objects can cause serious post-surgical complications, including infection, internal bleeding, and organ damage. If a person suspects that a foreign object has been left behind after surgery, they should take immediate steps to protect their health and preserve evidence for a potential medical malpractice claim.
- Begin taking notes to document post-surgical symptoms
- Schedule a medical consultation to report symptoms and suspicions of a retained foreign object (ideally patients should consult with a new doctor - not the one who performed the surgery)
- Collect medical records from your previous doctor
- Contact a medical malpractice lawyer (medical malpractice victims may be due compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering)
Contact Moody Law
Retained foreign objects after surgery are one of the most obvious forms of medical malpractice. If you have suffered complications because a foreign body was left behind after surgery, lawyers at Moody Law can assist you in pursuing compensation for damages. To discuss your case with our legal team, send us a message online, or call our Lakeland law firm at (863) 733-9090.