Latest News 2017 February The 5 Most Common Things Left Behind in Surgery

The 5 Most Common Things Left Behind in Surgery

Every year, about 90,000,000 surgeries are performed in the United States. In about 2,000 to 4,000 of those procedures, surgeons make a simple but grave mistake: they leave one of their tools behind. Known as a retained surgical item event (RSI), it is considered 1 of 27 "never events," or events that should never occur in any procedure ever.

2,000 to 4,000 a year is far away from "never."

The top 5 surgical items left behind inside patients, according to the latest figures:

  • 4" x 4" sponges (radiopaque textile, or raytex)
  • 18" x 18" sponges (laparotomy pad)
  • Catheters, drains, and broken instrument parts
  • Suture needles
  • Operating room towels

By far, sponges were the most common and likely item to be left behind in a patient. Sponges are not only a common tool, but a single procedure can use hundreds of them in a relatively short time.

The Most Common Areas for RSIs

In some cases, these items don't cause any problems. In too many cases, the item is only discovered because it caused significant health issues. One woman, for instance, had to have her bowel resectioned because a surgeon left a sponge in her abdomen after a hysterectomy. For people undergoing serious procedures, the added stress of an RSI only confirms their worst fears about going to the doctor.

The most common areas for RSIs are:

  • The hips
  • Abdomen
  • Vagina
  • Chest cavity

While doctors and hospitals have implemented countless systems and safeguards against RSIs, they still occur. On average, each RSI event costs $166,000 in recovery expenses. This doesn't take into account the stress of undergoing surgery again, as well as the pain and suffering each injury incurs.

Some of the effects of RSIs include:

  • Severe pain
  • Inflammation
  • Severe infection
  • Internal damage
  • Organ perforation

If you suffered significantly from having an item left behind after your surgery, it may be time to call a malpractice attorney. Consider calling an attorney for a free case evaluation today to share your story.

Categories: Surgical Error