When you are undergoing a surgical procedure, you are defenseless. You have no control over what is happening to your body and no way to watch for mistakes. And mistakes do happen. Recent research estimates that more than 4,000 surgical errors are made each year. Most of these involve gauze sponges that are left inside patients’ bodies during surgery.
These sponges are used to soak up blood during the thousands of surgeries across the country. But, in about one in 1,500 surgeries, a sponge is accidentally left inside a patient’s body. These sponges can cause infection, bowel obstruction, colon perforation, and even death. Until now, the only way to account for the sponges was to manually count each sponge that comes in and out of the operating room. Unfortunately, counts aren’t always correct. In 62 percent of medical malpractice cases involving objects left in the body, the object was thought to have been accounted for until it caused problems for the patient.
Now new technology may keep these types of errors from going undetected. New sponges come equipped with tiny computer chips that emit radio frequency signals. After surgery, a doctor or nurse uses a detector wand to scan the body. If a sponge was left in the patient, the wand detects the signal and emits an alert. Doctors can retrieve the sponge before it causes any damage.
This technology is especially useful for high risk patients: those who have high body mass index, those undergoing emergency surgery, those undergoing multiple surgeries, and women giving birth.
Did you know that those who suffer injury from a surgical error in Texas are eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more? Learn about Texas surgery malpractice claims in Dallas medical malpractice attorney Jeff Rasansky’s book, The Epidemic of Medical Mistakes & Understanding Your Rights. If you have additional questions, contact the Rasansky Law Firm at 1-877-405-4313.