Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

When surgical sponges are left behind

Call For a Free Consultation

540-904-1621

Phones Answered 24 Hours a Day

Patients in Virginia might imagine that anything used during the surgery is removed and accounted for before the site is closed and stitched. However, for thousands of people in the U.S. every year, this is not the case, CNN reports. Roughly a dozen patients each day leave the operating room with a surgical sponge or instrument still inside them. 

Why is this number so high? One of the reasons is that surgical sponges, in particular, are so difficult to keep track of. There may be 50 to 100 of these gauzy pads used per surgery, and these make up about 70 percent of all retained objects. Sponges are also often difficult to detect with imaging immediately after the operation, where a needle or scissors would be glaringly obvious on an x-ray. Sponges are most likely to be left behind after an abdominal surgery, although there are documented cases of retained sponges after nasal and brain surgeries, as well as other procedures.

There may be many more sponges left behind than studies have indicated because a patient may not experience symptoms for years. Even then, the symptoms may mirror other medical conditions, resulting in a misdiagnosis. When sponges are not discovered, they often drift away from the surgical site and become entangled or enmeshed in organs, causing serious internal damage. 

The National Institutes of Health notes that often, the sponges cause inflammatory reactions, infections and abscesses. In almost every case, a patient will need at least one corrective surgery, and the outlook is best when the object is discovered and removed within two weeks of the initial procedure.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Your Best Interests Are Our Top Priority — Schedule A Free Consultation

Arrange a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our Roanoke personal injury lawyers today.

Schedule A Consultation

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Visit Our Office / Follow Us

111 Virginia Avenue West
Vinton, VA 24179

Toll Free: 888-635-6304
Phone: 540-904-1621
Fax: 540-344-7073
Vinton Law Office Map

111 Virginia Avenue West