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Objects left inside body after surgery considered never event

People awaiting surgeries in Pennsylvania naturally have concerns about complications. The case of a woman in Japan who had surgical sponges that had been left in her abdominal cavity for years illustrates the possibility of what the medical community calls a never event. These are things that medical providers should never let happen.

The 42-year-old woman sought medical treatment for abdominal bloating that had persisted for three years. Her physician could feel two masses near her right and left hips and ordered a CT scan. The scan showed two masses that appeared to be made of very dense material. During the subsequent surgery, physicians took the masses out of her paracolic gutters between the colon and abdominal wall.

An examination of the removed masses revealed that they were gauze surgical sponges. The woman had gone through two cesarean sections six years and nine years previously. Her physician could not determine in which surgery the sponges had been left behind. Accidents like these can be avoided when surgical staff uses checklists to count the number of sponges used and removed. The woman recovered fully after the removal of the sponges.

This case represents an example of a person having to have an extra surgery due to medical errors. Medical malpractice can also inflict more serious consequences. An individual who experienced harm because of an anesthesia or medication error or failure to diagnose might ask an attorney to file a lawsuit for damages. A lawyer familiar with medical cases might enlist an independent medical expert to provide testimony about a physician's negligence. A attorney could take this evidence to a medical provider's insurer and ask for a financial settlement. If pretrial negotiations do not succeed in compensating a victim, a lawyer could prepare the case for a jury trial.

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