The Joint Commission calls out hospitals with inappropriate procedures or insufficient protocols that create an environment where surgical equipment like sponges, needles, towels and other instruments are left inside patients during a procedure, leading to pain and discomfort, additional surgery and even death.

According to a recent report, such incidents are nine times more likely to occur during an operation in an emergency setting and four times more likely to occur when a procedure has changed suddenly. The report also found that these kinds of mistakes can occur from any invasive surgical procedure, including colonoscopy procedures. 

(Watch for These Factors When Suspecting Surgical Medical Malpractice)

Clearly, when a mistake of this nature occurs in a medical procedure, filing a medical malpractice personal injury claim is an important option for patients looking to recover damages. “Leaving a foreign object behind after surgery is a well-known problem, but one that can be prevented,” Dr. Ana Pujols McKee, Chief Medical Officer of The Joint Commission, noted in a statement.

And when hospital protocols do not provide the oversight to prevent a foreign object from being left inside a patient during a procedure, a medical malpractice claim may recover damages for not only medical treatment and recovery, but also pain, suffering, loss of income and in some cases, even punitive damages and more.

One caution patients should observe, however, is that time is often of the essence. The statute of limitations in Illinois for medical malpractice claims prescribes that all claims be filed no more than four years after the procedure in question (younger patients may have a longer duration to file a claim), even if the patient does not find out about the medical errors for up to four years.

It’s imperative that patients follow up with their physicians right away after any procedure when there is unexpected pain or discomfort. Obtaining a second opinion when no obvious source of the discomfort can be found is always a wise choice as well.

Removing surgical objects left behind after a procedure may be further complicated by internal scarring over the object itself and therefore risky and costly.

If you have a question about filing a medical malpractice claim or another personal injury matter, please call Bizzieri Law Offices at 773.881.9000, where our skilled medical malpractice attorneys have years of experience recovering damages for patients who have suffered negligence at the hands of healthcare providers.

We understand Illinois medical malpractice law and we fight for our clients, recovering the highest damages possible and helping them to get their lives back on track.