It’s a frightening experience to put your life in a surgeon’s hands. You are trusting him to perform a complex procedure while you are asleep, and you can only hope that he is a competent professional.

But many patients awake to find that while their ailment has been removed, something else has been left in its place. 

Foreign objects left in the body during surgery may seem like an urban myth, but they are a very real occurrence—and can cause a number of complications. Here are just a few objects that are commonly left behind (and the problems they can cause):

  • Sponges. Gauze, towels and other soft items are far and away the most common items retained in surgery. As many as 70 percent of all retained object cases involve sponges, since they soak up excess blood and take on the same color and texture as the patient’s insides. Unfortunately, these items often lead to post-surgical infections, requiring the patient to undergo a second procedure to have them removed.
  • Needles, sutures, or clamps. Any operation that requires stitching or the implementation of plastic devices increases the chances of pieces being left behind. Needles, clamps, and plastic tubing may be lost in the patient’s abdomen, causing bowel perforation or abscess.
  • Surgical instruments. While it may seem unlikely that medical professionals can leave tools inside a patient, it happens quite commonly in emergency situations. Multiple metal clips are used during surgery, and they are easy to miscount if the patient’s condition escalates into emergency care. These tools often have sharp edges, and are likely to cause internal bleeding.

Our Louisville medical malpractice attorneys have seen these types of cases before. Often, it is the patient who discovers the error after the procedure: he may have trouble breathing, feel pain that won’t subside, or notice that his wound will not heal weeks after the surgery. 

If this serious surgical accident has happened to you, it is vital that you contact the attorneys at Gray and White today at (800) 634-8767. We will get you started on your case immediately with a FREE, one-on-one consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law