Foreign Objects Left In Surgical Patients

Leaving foreign objects (including sponges, needles and instruments) in patients during surgical procedures is a widely recognized medical error classified as a “Never Event”. The term “Never Event” refers to a hospital-acquired condition that should not, under any circumstances, occur. A surgical tool, such a sponge or forceps, placed inside a patient during surgery but not removed at the end of the surgical procedure, can result in serious complications including infection, vascular injury, organ damage, uncontrolled bleeding or other, life-threatening, injuries.

With more than 4,000 surgical “never events” occurring annually in the United States (as reported by a 2013 study of surgical errors), it is important to be aware of the circumstances and consequences surrounding retained surgical instruments (RSI) following a surgical procedure.

A surgical sponge is the most commonly reported RSI following surgery. However, instruments such as scalpels, needles, scissors, tweezers, forceps, clamps and tubing have also been documented. Once inside the patient’s body, an RSI can cause various complications depending on the type and location of the object left behind. Complications include: bacteria collection around the foreign object, producing infection; intestinal perforation; and, internal bleeding. The most common symptom is excruciating, unexplained pain in the patient – days, weeks or even months after a surgery. Additional surgery (frequently more extensive than the patient’s original, scheduled, procedure) is usually required to remove the item, once diagnosed.

Proper patient care and safety should always be the top priority in any medical setting.  In the operating room, standard procedure includes performing needle, sponge and instrument counts at the end of each surgical procedure but these counts are not always accurate. Medical negligence has occurred whenever a surgical instrument is left in a patient.

If you or a loved one feel you are the victim of a medical mistake contact The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (800-403-7259). When you call, you will speak with an experienced Baltimore Medical Malpractice attorney absolutely FREE.

We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.

Hypoxic Brain Injury- Intubation

Tracheal intubation (TI), usually simply referred to as intubation, is a procedure performed by medical professionals in the setting of respiratory failure and shock. This procedure involves inserting a flexible plastic tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe) to maintain an open airway, assist with breathing and can also serve as a channel through which to administer certain drugs.

Although intubation is a life-saving intervention, life-threatening complications may arise if this complex procedure is not done correctly. Negligent placement of the endotracheal tube into the esophagus, instead of the trachea, is a major cause of cardiac arrest and brain damage associated with intubation.  If this mistake is not immediately recognized and the tubing withdrawn from the patient’s esophagus, the patient’s airway remains blocked and hypoxic brain injury or anoxic brain injury can result from the asphyxiation caused by negligent intubation.

Patients must have a continuous supply of oxygen to the brain in order to survive. If the oxygen supply is interrupted, even for a short amount of time, the functioning of the brain is disturbed immediately and irreversible damage can quickly follow. Despite intubation guidelines and years of training in airway management, medical mistakes continue to be made, causing catastrophic complications to arise.

If you or a loved one feel you are the victim of a medical mistake, contact The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (800-403-7259). When you call, you will speak with an experienced Baltimore Medical Malpractice attorney absolutely FREE.

The attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced, caring professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination. Call us today to receive a free, confidential consultation about your possible case. At The Yost Legal Group, there is no fee or expense unless you recover.


Abdominal Injury During Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is one of the most common abdominal surgical procedures performed around the world. It is a minimally invasive surgery, which a surgeon performs by making several small incisions, each one about ½” in size, through which surgical instruments are inserted. Minimizing the size of the surgical incision greatly reduces the patient’s post-operative healing time, decreases the patient’s risk of developing a post-operative hernia, and minimizes surgical scars.

Unfortunately, the very small size of the laparoscopic incisions limits the surgeon’s view while entering the patient’s abdomen.  This limited view during insertion of sharp surgical instruments can cause serious injury to the patient.  If the surgeon is negligent in placing surgical tools too deep into the patient’s abdominal cavity, blood vessels or bowel are damaged and the patient can suffer life-threatening injuries such as internal bleeding (hemorrhage from a lacerated artery or vein) or sepsis (infection spread from a perforated or lacerated small intestine or bowel).

Vascular injury (injury to blood vessels) and bowel injury are the most common injuries suffered by patients having laparoscopic surgery and very often occur just as the abdomen is being entered and before the intended surgical procedure begins.  Major injury can occur when the Veress needle (a special needle used inflate the abdomen) or a trocar (a sharply pointed metal tube through which surgical tools are passed in and out of the abdomen) is negligently inserted into an artery, vein, colon, small intestine, ureter or other internal organ.

Additionally, a medical mistake can occur when the weight of a patient is not taken into consideration before surgery. In thinner patients, the distance between the anterior abdominal wall (where there are layers of abdominal muscle and tendons) and the retroperitoneal vascular structures (the major blood vessels located just behind the abdominal wall) is incredibly small. The distance between the abdominal wall and the thin patient’s aorta, iliac artery, and other great vessels may be as little as two centimeters. The distal aorta and right common iliac artery are particularly prone to injury and can be cut or damaged by negligent trocar placement at the beginning of the laparoscopic procedure.

Before laparoscopy is performed on a patient, the patient must be properly evaluated, including a full clinical history and thorough clinical examination. If you would like to discuss your potential claim arising from an injury during laparoscopy, the attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination.

Call The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529) for a FREE, confidential, no-obligation consultation.

At The Yost Legal Group, you will never pay an attorney’s fee unless we achieve a recovery for you. We don’t get paid until you do