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Objects left in body after surgery may go undetected

Surgery is a risky medical treatment. In order to keep patients safe, doctors must make sure they are alert. Equipment must be sterile and functional. Furthermore, it should go without saying that equipment should never end up inside the patient.

A recent malpractice case is particularly glaring; a Connecticut surgeon left a scalpel in the abdomen of a veteran. During the veteran’s recovery, he experienced severe stomach pains. However, his other doctors wouldn’t figure out the actual cause until he had an MRI for a different matter nearly four years later.

Obviously, items that are left in a patient’s body can cause severe issues. Sharp instruments can perforate organs whereas sponges can host infections. Not only might these objects undermine the effectiveness of the original surgery, but patients will require another operation to remove them.

The veteran and his wife are understandably furious about the situation. Together, they are suing the surgeon for negligence.

The estimate of how often this happens is staggering. Researchers believe that there are 1,500 similar malpractice cases annually. In addition, most patients probably won’t detect a foreign object until it creates a more serious problem. In the veteran’s case, for example, it took years to discover the scalpel.

Luckily, New Jersey’s statute of limitations does not begin until the patient realizes that they suffered medical malpractice. Whether your surgery was last month or ten years ago, you can begin a lawsuit as soon as you uncover an object that does not belong. This also means that once you learn about the issue, you have a set amount of time to seek justice and compensation.

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