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Junior Mints are NOT the only thing left in patients after surgery

Junior Mints are NOT the only thing left in patients after surgery

In 1993, the Jerry Seinfeld TV show aired an episode in which a patient had a Junior Mint sewed up inside of him by inadvertent mistake. That TV parody is one of many historic episodes that propelled the show into tv lore. Today with the advances in modern medicine, how often does something get sewn up in the human body after surgery. The answer is startling….Twelve Times or More a Day Surgeons Sew Up a Patient With Some Kind of Supplies Still In the Patient

Retained Surgical Item, the medical phrase for when a person undergoes a surgery and some kind of surgical item is left inside the person. Though egregious and completely preventable, this happens often enough to warrant the medical phrase to exist. This problem that the medical world deems should never happen does about twelve times a day according to a recent U.S.A. Today article.

Thousands of patients yearly leave the operation table with surgical supplies or items still inside their body. The horror stories include metal instruments or clamps that remained inside after the surgery. However, the most common is gauze or a surgical sponge that is utilized during the surgery to wipe away blood. The patients with these sponges or gauze inside their bodies often going for years without realizing what had take place. Infections already set in by the time most are discovered. The fallout to the patient can be as serious as death or loss of intestines.

Retained Surgical SpongeHospitals are not forced to report these botched surgeries to any type of federal oversight, so numbers of instances cannot be exactly known. Studies suggest that incidents of remaining surgical items inside a person after surgery can be as high as six thousand per year. Sponges account for more than two-thirds of the incidents.

So far hospitals have avoided or resisted technology that would keep this from re-occurring. Electronic tracking of sponges and gauze does exist, but fewer than fifteen percent (15%) of hospitals utilize the readily available technology. The tracking technology would only add eight ($8) to twelve ($12) dollars to the surgery cost. Though this would limit liability concerns for malpractice lawsuits, the minimal cost has not been accepted by most hospitals.

At DANIELS & HANNAN, the Attorneys pride themselves in staying informed of the latest news and evidence in the medical community. If you or a loved one has had surgery performed and a sponge or other instrument was left inside the body, contact us for a free consultation. Don’t Delay, Call Today….You don’t pay unless we win (941) 932-8007.