Gossypiboma is the medical term for an injury that results when a gauze sponge is left in a patient’s body after surgery. Other terms for gossypiboma include “textiloma” and “retained foreign object” (RFO).
Gossypiboma is the most-common type of surgical error, and can often go undetected for months or even years. Eventually, the body tries to encapsulate the object. The patient begins to suffer pain near the surgical site. He or she may have flu-like symptoms or a high fever from an infection. Or a cyst or lump at the site may form and continue to grow.
Gossypibomas are especially dangerous in the digestive tract. They may erode through the abdominal wall or cause obstruction in the intestines. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and pain. A gossypiboma in the lungs can affect breathing.
Gossypibomas are usually identified with an x-ray or CT scan. Once identified, the sponge (or other foreign object) must be surgically removed.
Gossypiboma is completely preventable. Operating room staff are supposed to check that all sponges and surgical instruments are accounted for during a surgical procedure. If anything is missing, that object must be located before it can cause harm to the patient.
Patients who suffer injury resulting from a surgical error like gossypiboma are eligible to seek compensation for any related medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering through a Texas surgery malpractice claim. Learn more about your right to compensation in Dallas medical malpractice attorney Jeff Rasansky’s book, The Epidemic of Medical Mistakes & Understanding Your Rights. If you have additional questions about gossypiboma, or legal questions about your own case, contact the Rasansky Law Firm at 1-877-405-4313.