If a surgeon left something in your body, a sponge, for example, you have the right to sue for compensation because this is medical malpractice. Your personal injury lawsuit can seek damages for the cost of removing the object, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
You may have a lawsuit against both the surgeon and the hospital. You can contact our lawyers with the form below and request a free case evaluation.
The FDA has warned health professionals of serious adverse events associated with device fragments and other debris left behind after surgery.
Some objects that have been left behind include the following:
- catheter tip;
- fractured wire;
- torn balloon;
- drill bit;
- stapler component;
- parts of laparoscopic trocar;
- soft goods, such as a sponge or towel;
- malleable retractor.
The adverse events reported included infection, perforation of an organ or blood vessel, obstruction of blood vessel, and wrongful death. In many cases, the patient is not aware of the debris. There a number of reasons why this is unacceptable, one of which is the danger posed by future MRI procedures. The magnetic fields during an MRI may cause metallic fragments to migrate and/or to heat, causing internal tissue damage and/or burns.
There are nearly 1000 adverse event reports each year related to medical products left behind.
Example 1: Fractured Guide Wire
During a cardiac catheterization, a fractured guide wire lodged in a coronary artery, causing coronary artery perforation. Attempts to retrieve it failed, and the patient died from cardiac tamponade. The investigation found that the medical professional had manipulated the guide wire into a shape for which it wasn’t designed. The bending weakened the wire, causing it to fracture during the procedure.
Fractured guide wires can be caused by the following:
- shaping a wire to conform to the patient’s anatomy when the wire wasn’t designed to be reshaped;
- using undue force and torque (rotational force) on insertion or withdrawal of the wire;
- a defect in the wire due to its design, manufacturing, shipment or storage.
Example 2: Surgical Sponge
A sponge that had been left behind during the amputation of a man’s leg caused a severe infection. The infection and other related complications necessitated multiple surgical procedures to heal the stump.
In another case, a sponge was left behind during a surgical procedure on a leg. Again, the sponge caused the leg to become severely infected. After multiple surgeries, it was determined that the leg could not be saved, and it was amputated below the knee.
Reporting an Adverse Event Involving an Unretrieved Device Fragment (UDF)
FDA requires hospitals and other user facilities to report deaths and serious injuries associated with the use of medical devices. If you have been seriously injured by an unretrieved device fragment and you want to make sure that the hospital or other medical facility reported the event, please contact our office. Although our primary goal will be to get you compensation for your injuries, we can also contact the FDA regarding your case.
Get Your Free Consultation
Attorney Fred Pritzker is our lead lawyers for these cases. He and and our medical malpractice litigation team have won millions for our clients in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against doctors and hospitals. Contact our law firm for a free consultation.
In a case where an unretrieved device fragment (UDF) has been left in a patient after surgery, there may be issues involving both medical malpractice (specifically hospital malpractice) and product liability. If you retain us to represent you, we will thoroughly investigate your case to determine all of the parties responsible for the injuries caused by the UDF.