What is a Retained Surgical Object?
A retained object refers to a foreign object which is left inside the body following a procedure. This is an error which can lead to various injuries and illnesses. This can also lead to long-term issues in the future. In most cases, surgical tools are retained during an emergency surgery procedure where urgent medical attention is required. This often means that medical practitioners are under pressure to treat the patient within a certain time frame.
Common items which can be retained following a surgical procedure include:
- Gauze Sponges
- Stitches or staples
There are already preventative measures in place to ensure that medical instruments are not retained following surgery. Prior to carrying out a procedure a medical practitioner must count and check what instruments they have. This must also be carried out following the procedure to ensure that no items have gone missing or have been retained in the patient. There are a number of complications which can occur following retained instruments especially if this is left unnoticed for some time. This can include severe pain and discomfort and in some cases can lead to an infection developing. In many cases, the patient will have to undergo further surgery in order to get this foreign object removed.
If you have been affected by retained surgical instruments as a result of medical negligence you may be entitled to make a claim for damage.
Common Injuries and Illnesses
Injuries and illness sustained in retained surgical instruments claims* include:
- Nerve Damage
- Internal Injuries
- Damage to Organs
- Sepsis – This is a potentially life-threatening complication which is associated with infections. It occurs when chemicals which are released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger a response throughout the body. If it is the case that a foreign object has been left inside the body, sepsis can be extremely dangerous and immediate medical attention is needed. Failing to do so can cause the body to go into shock and in some cases can lead to organ failure.
- Fistula – This is an abnormal link or connection between two organs which would not usually connect. This link is often formed where a patient has retained surgical instruments which may then lead to further complications. In most cases, further surgery is required to remove the foreign object which is causing the problem. Symptoms may not appear for some time which often causes the condition to worsen over time. This can result in prolonged recovery time.
Causes of retained surgical instruments injuries and illness include:
- GP Negligence
- Hospital Negligence
- Poor Aftercare of Patients
- Errors During Surgery
- Substandard Care of the Patient
- Failing to carry out certain checks prior to and after surgery