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Surgical Objects Left Inside The Body

Surgical Objects Left Inside The Body

On average, two people every week in the UK have a foreign object left inside their body after surgery. Although the NHS has suggested that such errors occur due to 'stressful situations', it remains true that a patient should never have a surgical instrument left inside them, as there are strict regulations to avoid this from happening. Therefore if a patient does suffer from a retained foreign object, there could be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

Retained Foreign Objects Post Operation

Throughout the course of an operation, the surgeon and his team will use a variety of instruments. There will be a number of different appliances involved, and these should be accounted for both before and after the operation. This is a requirement clearly set out in NHS guidelines, and must be followed by surgical staff to ensure nothing is accidentally left inside the patient's body.

However, there are unfortunately occasions when the operating team fail to account for all surgical objects, and something is left in a patient's body. This is commonly known as a 'retained foreign object', and may include anything such as a swab, screw, needle or clip. This will cause a number of problems for a patient, who will face complications such as pain and infection, while more serious problems such as sepsis and organ failure can also ensue. A second procedure will also be necessary to remove the foreign object, prolonging recovery time.

Retained Foreign Objects Does This Amount to Medical Negligence?

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has created a list of 'never events'. These are events that should never happen within an NHS setting, as long as the correct procedures and guidelines are respected and implemented. The list currently contains 25 events, one of which is a retained foreign object post operation. Therefore it can be said that a patient should never suffer from a surgical object left inside his or her body. If this does happen, then a serious incident of medical negligence has occurred.

Speak to a Solicitor

Although retained foreign objects are established 'never events', it is important to remember that every situation is different. That is why if you have suffered from a retained foreign object, you need to seek urgent legal advice. A medical negligence will be able to listen to the details of your case before confirming whether or not you have been the victim of medical negligence. If so, you will be legally entitled to pursue a medical negligence claim for the substandard care you have received. If you are successful, you will be awarded a sum of compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of finances you have incurred as a direct result of medical error.

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