Hmmm, Now Where Did I Put My Scalpel…?

Hmmm, Now Where Did I Put My Scalpel…?
Jan 17, 2018

An alarming story made national news recently, and once again it deals with treatment of a Vet in a VA facility. A 61-year-old Iraq war veteran in Connecticut had a prostate cancer surgery performed in 2013 in a VA facility. Several years later, the Vet began experiencing severe abdominal pain and dizziness. He went to the hospital where an X-ray showed that he had a scalpel in his abdomen which they determined had been left inside him during the 2013 surgery!

Though this is an extreme case, it is not uncommon for foreign objects to be left inside patients after a surgery. Sponges, surgical needles, scissors, forceps and tubes have all been found inside post-surgical patients. Often, as in this case, the patient doesn’t begin to show symptoms from the foreign object until years later. As a result, Georgia law allows for an exception to the traditional 2-year deadline to file suit in a foreign object case. In such cases, the lawsuit must be brought within 1 year of discovering the foreign object in the body.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) coined the term “Never Event” to describe medical errors that should never occur. It includes adverse events that are unambiguous, serious and usually preventable. Foreign objects in the body are considered a “Never Event” and such cases can often be resolved if handled by an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If you have recently learned that a foreign object has been left in your body after a surgery, please call the Warshauer Woodward Atkins for a free case evaluation.