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Hospitals fined after foreign objects left in surgical patients

It is fair to say that many people would do whatever they could to avoid having to undergo a surgical procedure. In addition to having to deal with the inconvenience of a recovery period, there are many things that could go wrong during the procedure. Besides the risk of being given too much anesthesia or not enough, in other situations patients in Pittsburgh may find that items used during the course of the surgery are left in their body after they are stitched up. Despite these risks, in many situations surgery is the only thing that can improve one's medical situation and so they are routinely performed.

Recently two hospitals in another part of the country were fined by the Department of Public Health in the state in which they are located, when it was discovered that two separate patients had foreign objects left in their bodies after their surgery was over. This situation resulted in the patients needing to undergo second surgeries to remove the objects. The surgical mistakes were the result of the teams performing the procedures failing to follow established procedures and policies.

When not addressed in a timely manner, leaving foreign objects within a body in the course of a surgery can lead to serious medical complications. Surgical errors can lead not only to physical and financial hardship, but emotional pain as well. In the worst cases these complications can result in death. Fortunately, there is something that injured patients or their loved ones can do to try to make up for the harm inflicted. In some situations it may be able to recover monetary damages via a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Source: The San Francisco Appeal, "UCSF, St. Mary's Hospitals Fined For Leaving Behind Foreign Objects During Surgery," Feb. 6, 2013

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