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Is it common for objects to be left behind in surgery?

Surgeries are oftentimes high-pressure situations and most of the medical professionals involved in the procedures are experiencing some form of stress or the other. If a medical emergency takes place during the surgery, the ensuing chaos can be disastrous if the surgical team does not remain on top of the situation, so it is unfortunate that this ends up being one of the common reasons equipment is left behind in patients in surgeries.

Louisiana residents may be shocked to hear that thousands of such incidents take place every year in the country-between 4,500 and 6,000 incidents of foreign objects being left behind in patients take place annually. These objects include sponges, towels, scissors, tweezers and forceps. Sponges are even more common as they blend into a patient's body when soaked in blood during surgery. Tools are most often left inside abdomens and chest cavities.

There are certain instances where the probability of leaving tools behind is more likely. For example, if the patient's body mass index is high, multiple procedures are needed or more than one surgical team is needed, it is more likely that equipment is left behind. However, human error cannot excuse medical malpractice that might leave a patient in severe pain, cause damage to internal organs or even partial loss of an organ, additional surgeries and even result in death.

Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional's care falls below a required standard. A patient often ends up feeling violated and like their trust has been betrayed. One way to get answers as to what went wrong may be through the pursuit of a medical malpractice claim.

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Tauzin & Lorio, Attorneys at Law
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