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What happens when a surgical sponge or tools are left in you?

When most people experience either gas or bloating, they often think that it has to do with their body’s response to something that they ate that was bad for them. It’s unlikely that they would assume that their abdominal discomfort was related to either a surgical tool or sponge being left in them. In the case of some patients, though, this is what doctors ultimately discover is causing their persistent, nagging abdominal pain.

Back in February, the New England Journal of Medicine published details about one such instance that occurred in Japan. A 42-year-old woman who’d had cesarean sections on two different occasions went to her doctors after she experienced bloating for three years that never seemed to subside.

According to journal article, when the woman’s doctors examined her, they were shocked to find two solid masses close to each of her hip bones. Upon performing a CT scan on her, doctors found that those masses were both hyperdense and stringy.

A surgery was performed on the woman so that the masses could be removed. Once they were removed and cut open, doctors were shocked to find that some of the woman’s body tissue had begun surrounding gauze sponges that had apparently been left in her body during these prior c-sections years before.

The doctor who discovered them claims that it’s hard to tell how long that they’d been inside of her, but that it’s likely that they were placed there to ensure that her intestines didn’t get in the way of her obstetrician performing her prior c-sections.

Incidents like this are completely avoidable if doctors simply follow protocol in taking an accounting of all surgical materials and tools both prior to and after a surgical procedure is performed and before a patient is closed up. This is one of the reasons such events have been dubbed “never events”.

They’ve been called this because doctors believe incidents like this should never occur. A 2010 study showed that they’re more common with gynecological surgeries that any other type.

If you’ve had a surgical tool or material left inside of you that’s caused you discomfort and required an additional surgery to remove it, then a Chicago attorney can help. In learning more about your case, he or she can advise you of your right to recover medical costs as well as damages for pain and suffering in your case.

Source: Live Science, “Here's what happens when you leave sponges in a person's body for years,” Rachael Rettner, accessed June 07, 2018

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