Post-Surgical Foreign Objects

Your Rights. Your Lawyer.

Simply put, it is unacceptable for a physician, doctor, surgical nurse or any other health care provider to unintentionally leave a foreign object in you or your loved one’s body during surgery. Post-Surgical Foreign Objects Fla. Stat. § 766.102 provides in part that “the discovery of the presence of a foreign body, such as a sponge, clamp, forceps, surgical needle, or other paraphernalia commonly used in surgical, examination, or diagnostic procedures, shall be prima facie evidence of negligence on the part of the health care provider.”

Basic minimum practice standards for operating room nurses state that sponges should be counted once at the start of a surgical procedure and twice at its conclusion, and instruments are to be counted in all procedures involving open cavities. If all materials are not accounted for at the conclusion of a procedure, radiography or manual exploration must take place.

Retained foreign objects have the potential to cause a multitude of problems including post-procedure infections, bowel perforation, abscess, undue pain, return to surgery, and even death.

The consequences extend beyond clinical complications and often include additional financial burdens such as extended lost time from work, additional expenses related to frequent follow up visits, and additional medications. Such complications also present a significant financial risk to health care providers. Effective October 1, 2008, CMS identified a list of hospital-acquired conditions deemed to be “preventable” and may deny payment for complications resulting from such events or conditions: retained foreign objects after surgery is one of those conditions. Other third party payors have implemented similar no-pay policies.

Common Types of Retained Foreign Objects

  • Surgical sponges
  • Lap pads aka Laparotomy sponges
  • Needles
  • Surgical instruments
  • Clamps or clips
  • Drill bit
  • scalpels

Mr. Milles has pursued wrongful death actions throughout the United States, including Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Milles also represents families in Atlanta and South Georgia, including Thomasville, Moultrie, Valdosta, Albany, and Savannah. Mr. Milles represents injured Floridians in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Panama City, Crawfordville, Apalachicola, Eastpoint, Quincy, Monticello, Tampa, Gadsden County, Jefferson County, Franklin County, Wakulla County, Bay County and Santa Rosa County.

If you or your loved one has suffered personal injury by medical malpractice, please contact a Tallahassee medical malpractice Lawyer at Milles Law now.