Surgical procedures require the use of surgical instruments, needles, and sponges. It is the responsibility of the OR staff to count all instruments, all needles, and all sponges to ensure that none are left behind. All facilities that provide surgical services have policies to ensure that this is done. Unfortunately, these procedures are not consistently followed.
The most common reason for a retained sponge or foreign object is due to a miscount or failure to perform multiple counts. Many safeguards require a count to be made up to four times, with the last being the most important. If a medical team is rushed or distracted, they may lose track of the count or fail to perform more than one count.
Retained foreign bodies have been placed on the list of “Never” events compiled by the Center for Medicare Services (“CMS”). This list identifies common complications that CMS believes are always preventable and should never occur. If a condition is on the list of CMS “Never” events, it has the right to with hold payment to a provider for that treatment.
When a foreign object is not removed after surgery, any number of serious complications can result. A retained surgical instrument can perforate internal organs, a sponge can adhere to (grow into) internal organs or tissue causing adhesion and massive scar tissue formations. Sometimes, another surgery can be done to remove the foreign object. Sometimes, the damage done by the foreign object to the internal organs of the body is so significant, that multiple surgeries are required. These complications can be permanent and life changing.
If you or a loved one has learned that a foreign body was left behind during a previous surgery, contact Wormington & Bollinger today. We serve those who have suffered preventable medical complications throughout the State of Texas. With a pool of satisfied clients from cities like Fort Worth, Dallas, Plano and Arlington, we are known to deliver results. Committed to helping you investigate the cause of this injury, to determine who is responsible, and to lessen the financial burden it has imposed on you and your family.