“Never Events” — Retained Surgical Items Are More Common Than You Think!

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

By Lisa S. Cummings

Have you heard stories about retained surgical or foreign items, such as sponges or surgical clamps being left behind during surgery? Do you think this doesn’t really happen? Well, think again! According to a watchdog group, they state that these occurrences are not necessarily rare even thought it should never happen.

The article, the HealthDay News explains the how the Joint commission views this as a well-known problem, causing deaths of patients or significantly damaging to patients. In the past seven years, there have been more than 770 reports and results of 16 deaths due to retained foreign objects that have been left in patients. The errors costs up to $200,000 for each incident, and it is essential to examine a hospitals results for specific procedures and to create a better atmosphere of surgical teams for patients safety, including X-rays during surgery to located stray items.

According to TimesUnion, both Albany and Nassau University on long Island medical centers made the watch list for the second year in a row since 2010 for many errors involving retained surgical objects. Other hospitals that are included in the watch list are New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Center, New York University Hospital Center and Rochester General Hospital.

Our New York law firm’s malpractice team has handled surgical error legal cases effectively for some decades. If you or someone you know has been a victim of retained foreign objects during surgery, please contact us.

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