Surgical Items Accidentally Left Inside Patients

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Retained Surgical Items

Staff in NHS hospitals perform many successful surgical procedures every year. The thousands of procedures undertaken involve a wide variety of specialised devices and tools to aid treatment and recovery. Hospitals have checklists and procedures in place in order to carefully account for all devices involved in an operation.

close up photograph of surgical tools

Despite this however, mistakes can still occur. In medical procedures where an item is intentionally retained for a short period (for example, stitches), the hospital may fail to record this correctly or recall patients for item removal at the correct time. This will result in the item remaining inside the patient for longer than it should. In even rarer cases, medical staff may unintentionally leave items behind during a surgical procedure. The NHS class the accidental retention of a surgical item as a “never” event, meaning it is an incident which should never occur if proper procedures are followed. However, statistics show 114 cases of unintentionally retained foreign objects in NHS procedures between April 2016 and March 2017.

Post-Surgical Complications

The most common object accidentally retained after surgical procedures is gauze sponge. At Jobling Gowler, we have dealt with claims relating to post-surgical complications from retained swabs, stents, surgical clips, and packaging. In one year 22 of the reported cases involved unintentionally retained surgical guide wires which can cause severe internal damage.

Any foreign body left inside of a patient has the potential to cause additional harm. Possible complications relating to retained surgical items can include pain, infection, internal bleeding, and even organ failure. This generally occurs when patients are already in a state of poor health, and brings further emotional stress to them and their family. It is therefore important that patients are able to seek compensation for the unnecessary suffering they have experienced.

Why Pursue a Claim?

At Jobling Gowler, we offer a service which is not simply about pursuing compensation, our ultimate goal is to help to restore your quality of life. With our help you can access a whole range of support packages, tailored to your individual needs. These could involve home adaptations, emotional support for the stressful circumstances, transportation allowances, wages for additional care providers, or access to specialist rehabilitation services. Additionally, where appropriate, we can pursue early-part payment of this compensation to enable you to access the necessary services as soon as possible.

Can We Help?

Jobling Gowler are your local specialist Clinical Negligence solicitors. We have the experience and expertise necessary to help you investigate and pursue claims relating to retained foreign objects. Previously, we have successfully recovered compensation for clients who have suffered medical complications, pain, suffering and repeated surgeries for retained foreign objects.

Have you or a loved one suffered as a result of a retained surgical item in the last three years? Please contact one of our specialist Medical Negligence solicitors today who will be happy to arrange an initial free consultation.  Please call 01625 614250 or complete the enquiries form below: