Data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics suggests 5,500 to 7,000 patients have foreign objects left behind after surgery each year. Surgical sponges are one of the worst objects that can be left behind, as they cause excruciating pain and deadly infections.
A Los Angeles woman’s horrifying story can serve as an example. In 2007, the woman underwent a hysterectomy and bladder surgery at a local hospital. Three days later, the woman returned to the hospital after experiencing pain. Her problems continued to get worse. Every morning she would wake up dehydrated and nauseous. When she was at work one day, she became faint, started sweating and experienced blurry vision. Four years after her surgery, she began to experience bleeding.
Her doctors initially suspected an ovarian cyst and removed her ovaries. Afterwards, her doctors detected a mass in her small intestine. Additional tests revealed that it was not a mass, but a sponge that had been left behind from the woman’s surgery four years ago. She spent four years living in hell because of several medical mistakes.
This woman’s story is not unique. It happens to thousands of Americans every year. In some cases, sponges cause serious infections that can shut down organs or lead to excruciating pain.
Should Patients Harmed by Surgical Sponges File Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
There are no excuses for errors like this to happen. If we use this woman’s story, it becomes clear that multiple medical mistakes were made. Doctors misdiagnosed her twice before finally removing the sponge. She ended up losing part of her small intestine and ovaries due to these mistakes. What happens when sponges are left inside of patients? Their lives can be ruined.