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How often do surgeons leave objects inside patients?

Few medical mistakes have received more media attention than surgeons accidentally leaving items behind in patients. The medical mistake has long been a punchline of television shows.

Some people may not realize how very real the risk is of a surgical mistake involving objects left behind after a procedure. A misplaced item could have severe medical issues for a patient, especially one who is already medically fragile. How often are foreign objects left in a patient after an operation?

Thousands of patients suffer are victims of this kind of surgical mistake every year

You might think that leaving sponges, clamps or gauze behind in a patient would be an extremely rare kind of medical mistake. However, medical statistics show that it is one of the most common serious surgical errors.

Between 4,500 and 6,000 operations in the United States every year end with a patient having a potentially dangerous foreign object left inside them. Surgeons and their teams are required to track every item in the operating room, and they may discover after a patient moves out to recovery that they are missing one of their tools or other item. Often it turns out to be left inside the patient, whose surgical recovery will now likely take longer.

These patients may require a second procedure to remove the object left behind, or they could suffer from internal injuries or a severe infection as a result of this preventable medical mistake. Recognizing an object left behind as an actionable form of medical malpractice can help you appropriately respond as the victim of a surgical mistake.

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