Contact us for a free no obligation assessment, if you have been a victim of “failure to remove foreign objects during surgery”. You have every right to claim compensation to help deal with the associated cost of ongoing care of financial loss due to negligence.
The problem of retained objects or retained surgical bodies (RSB) is most commonly associated with surgeons, healthcare facilities, hospitals, and the whole medical team involved in a patient’s surgical procedure. The failure to remove foreign objects from the patient’s body during and after surgery poses potentially harmful repercussions to the patient involved.
For one thing, retained foreign objects might be life-threatening and in most cases, patients may have to go under the knife the second time. The consequence of foreign objects left in the body after surgery might manifest in various forms immediately after the surgery is concluded, or might even take months or years.
Therefore, if you or your loved one has suffered health complications, avoidable injury, pain or trauma as a result of the failure of a surgeon to ensure that there are no retain surgical tools, you may have enough grounds to make a negligence claim and be compensated accordingly.
How Often Do Experts Make This Surgical Mistake?
There are usually strict procedures in place during surgeries. As a standard procedure, surgical instruments are counted before and after every surgery to be sure that all instruments are accounted for, and that none of the objects has been forgotten in the patient’s body. This may be done by the scrub nurse.
However, as with every medical procedure, surgery comes with its risk and one of it is retained objects. Whilst mechanisms have been set out to prevent things like this and ensure a safe and workable environment for the patient and surgeon, errors still happen as medical professionals are human. This is why there is a possibility that foreign objects can be left in the body of a patient after an operation.
The most popular objects forgotten in patients after operations are surgical gauzes, sponges and swabs which are used to absorb and stem the flow of blood during an operation. However, in rarer cases, metal and solid objects such as scalpels and clamps have also been forgotten. These are some of the most common medical mistakes associated with surgery and because they are not supposed to happen in the first place, they are termed “never events”
With over 28 million surgical operations performed around the UK, the estimated number of cases where foreign objects are left behind in the patient during surgery is at about 1500 cases in a year; usually in a 1-out-of-1000 ratio.
Although this may seem like a small fraction, the consequences of these acts of negligence do not only involve the victims but also their families, which means that the impact is wide spread.
Most often, these retained objects manifest as a mass in the abdominal region and are usually discovered during radiological examinations such as computed tomography (CT). Such examination is conducted if the patient complains of a palpable mass, pain, and frequent infections in the immediate period after the operation.
Between April 2021 and March 2022, there were 407 never events recorded in NHS establishments which included 98 cases of retained foreign objects in patients, including 32 vaginal swabs and 21 surgical swabs.
What Happens When Foreign Objects Are Retained In The Body?
When surgical bodies are retained in the body, it can either lead to new injuries for the patient or further worsen an existing medical condition. For example, if a sponge is left inside a woman’s body after its usage for excess blood absorption during childbirth, it can result in pain, severe infections, and other health problems if not properly and immediately addressed.
Here Are Some common injuries that result from RSBs
- Perforation of Bowel
- Sponge Adhesion to Organs
- Damage of Organs
- Internal bleeding
If you suspect that a foreign object has been left behind in your or your family’s body after an operation, seek immediate medical attention, so that the issue can be promptly attended to, to prevent further damage.
Thereafter, you can reach out to your medical malpractice solicitor if you wish to take legal actions.
Here Are Some Symptoms That Could Indicate Retained Surgical Bodies
- Difficulty urinating or constipation. This indicates a blockage.
- Development of an abscess.
- Coughing or vomiting blood.
- Bowel movements may become bloody. (There may be blood in your stool)
- Respiratory or congestion difficulty.
- Drainage from the site or wound of the surgery is observed
- Progressive increase in post-surgery pain and exhaustion instead of reduced pain which indicates recovery
- Swelling of lymph nodes.
- Severe headache or leg pain which indicates a blockage.
- Feverish conditions which may indicate infection.
- Inflammation in the surrounding area where the RSB may be located.
- Breakage of flesh on the site of surgery instead of fusion.
- Discolouration of the skin, blood clotting, etc, and these are signs of sepsis.
- Overall severe misalignment with standard recovery expectations.
To Pursue Claims Or Not To Pursue Claims?
Many people find themselves imagining all the possible worst-case scenarios, and while we can keep hoping that these possible scenarios do not become reality, the truth is that injuries sustained due to surgical negligence are one of the most popular reasons for lodging claims.
In the case that you have suffered injuries during a surgical process, it’s right for you to legally pursue operation gone wrong claims; and it’s time to make contact with our team of the best medical negligence solicitors.
To seek trusted medical attention, and to contact an attorney immediately after any of these incidents is double-fold. You can lodge a claim for compensation for medical bills and losses incurred (which may have probably increased due to the presence of retained foreign objects). The compensation claims cover the added cost of recovery, corrective surgery, rehabilitation, pain and suffering.
Usually, compensation awarded for damages in cases of medical negligence are grouped into two, which are namely;
- General damages – This is compensation for any physical injuries that may have been incurred, pain and suffering, loss of amenity, and psychological injury.
- Special damages – This is the compensation for both past and future financial losses you may have or had to experience, including costs of further medical treatment, therapies and rehabilitation as required.
What Do You Need To Make Your Claims?
For you to successfully prove your claim and be qualified for an award of compensation, there are key elements you need to prove;
- You should be able to first establish that there was an existing relationship between you and the doctor or surgeon who was supposedly negligent. This means you have to show that the said medical professional owed you a duty of care.
- You need to show that the surgeon was negligent and so breached his duty of care to you. This means that you have to show that he was liable.
- The next step is to show causation. This is very important as this links the action or inaction of the surgeon with the injury you suffered. It has to be proven that if the doctor hadn’t been negligent, the injury, pain or complication you suffered would not have occurred.
- You should also show that the injury has affected your quality of life greatly, such that you have incurred losses which might include financial losses and loss of amenity
The entire evidence procedure may seem very sensitive and tricky, especially for a novice. This is where you need to MEET OUR TEAM
Meeting Our Team
- To meet our team, you can reach out to us via our helplines or fill out our online free claims’ assessment form. Thereafter, we will assign you to one of our expert solicitors, who will attend to your case.
- When you present your case to us, our solicitors will critically analyze your claims – including all evidence and events bordering around your claim. This is fine in order to determine whether a negligence claim can be established or not, and also advise you on the next procedures to follow.
- You must also keep all proofs relevant to your claim handy as you will need to present them to your solicitor. Where we need other pieces of evidence to further strengthen your case, we will assist you to make them available.
How Our Team Can Help?
Our experts are specialists with enormous years of experience in handling medical negligence claims. We understand that the above-stated procedures of proof sourcing may be difficult to carry out, especially as the defending hospital or doctor or medical adviser may remain firm that the treatment process you have experienced under them has not been negligent in any way. However, our lawyers are able to help you source for more proof to give you a greater chance of winning your case.
As soon as we have obtained enough details about your case, we will write a “Letter of claim”, and extensively state your current situation, the conditions of your treatment process, and the value of medical negligence compensation claims expected.
This letter will be submitted to the defendant who will be given time to make their own investigations and give us feedback admitting or denying liability. If liability is accepted, both teams can then negotiate the value of settlement. However, if they deny liability, the claim may go to a trial to be presided over by a judge.
However, you can be rest assured that the chances of your claim going to court is very slim as we resolved a large majority of our claims outside the courtroom. We also advise that you begin your claims early enough as it increases the chances of both settling claims faster and winning the claim.
Our Conditional Fee Agreement Policy
If you’ve been wondering what our legal cost is, you don’t have to worry! Our services are free to our clients thanks to our No Win No Fee policy, and it’s only after you have been awarded damages that we will require you to pay us a SUCCESS FEE which is usually an agreed percentage of your total compensation.