0800 2888 693
Open today: 8am - 8pm
Over 15 years experience |
Helped over 20,000 people |
1stClaims' Service is Free of Charge
Make a claim now or you can speak to us on 0800 2888 693
Please select your claim type Please enter your first name Please enter your phone number Please double-check your phone number and try again Please enter your e-mail address Please double-check your e-mail address and try again
The retention of equipment following surgery is thankfully rare, but it is potentially lethal. It occurs during abdominal or pelvic surgery. There are a range of issues resulting from the retention of surgical equipment. The error can go undetected for your or may cause extremely minor issues.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellent (NICE) consider retained surgical objects to be a 'never event'. This means that as long as the necessary preventative measures are put in place, a surgical item should never be left inside a patient’s body. If an incident does occur, serious questions need to be asked as to why it was allowed to happen, who is to blame and whether or not there is a case of medical negligence.
During the course of an operation, the surgeon and their medical team will use a variety of surgical instruments and tools. Amongst others, these can include swabs, needles, pins, scalpels, scissors, sponges, tweezers and clamps. There is, therefore, a lot of equipment in use and it can be difficult to keep track of all the items that have been employed.
That is why there are strict guidelines in place to ensure surgical objects are not lost during the procedure. While the exact protocol may differ from hospital to hospital, the surgical team will generally be required to count all instruments beforehand, noting down the numbers. Once the operation is finished, everything should be recounted to ensure nothing has been left behind. If an item cannot be accounted for, the surgeon must not suture the patient together until the issue has been resolved.
If an item is left inside a patient’s body, certain symptoms will arise post-operatively. The nature of these problems will vary according to the type and location of retained surgical item. But more often than not a patient will develop an infection, along with fever, vomiting and pain. A retained surgical item can therefore put a patient in extreme danger, while a second operation will also be necessary to remove the foreign object.
High risk factors have been pointed out as obesity, change of surgical procedure and emergency surgery. The likelihood of an error occurring in these cases is higher than in other surgical procedures.
Once a patient has recovered from his or her injuries, their next step should be to seek legal advice. Alternatively, a loved one may choose to do this on their behalf. This is because, as mentioned previously, retained surgical items should not happen if medical professionals follow hospital guidelines. If they fail to do so and a patient suffers a retained surgical item, there may well have been a case of medical negligence. If so, the injured victim will be entitled to compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity this has caused. A sum will also be awarded for the acute financial loss incurred as a direct result of the substandard level of medical care.
Medical negligence claims can be successfully made for a variety of reasons, including failing to count the amount of swabs used, failure to check x-rays and failure to check the operative field as detailed below.
1. Claims relating to the swab or instrument count:
2. The surgeon failed to check operative field
3. Claims relating to x-rays
In any scenario when the count is wrong following closure, post-operative radiography is imperative. However 10% of the time swabs will not be detectable via this technique. A Harvard Study into the issue of the retention of equipment following surgery revealed that almost 70% of retained objects are sponges.
1stClaims does not charge you for using our service and all initial enquiries with our Solicitors are also free of charge, so rest assured, this initial step of making an enquiry will not cost you anything.
Once one of our Solicitors has assessed the merits of your enquiry they will make a judgement on the likely chances of bringing a successful claim and if the prospects are good, they will normally offer to take your case on a No Win No Fee basis. NOTE: If your case is successful your Solicitor will deduct up to a maximum of 25% of your final settlement or compensation award as payment for their fees. You can find out more about No Win No Fee arrangements and the potential costs that can be incurred by clicking here.Find Out More
If you are the victim of retained equipment during surgery, you will be entitled to compensation for the damages you have incurred. To begin your medical negligence claim, you need to speak to a solicitor who specialises in this area of the law.
Remember, all initial enquiries are completely free of charge and the solicitor will investigate all funding options for you.
We are here to help you from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday,
8.30am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sundays.
Make a claim now or you can speak to us on 0800 2888 693
1stClaims is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect of regulated claims management activities. Firm Reference Number FRN833930.
1stClaims are a Claims Management Company. Our Marketing is undertaken in a manner that is compliant with the SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs 2019 Parts 8.6 - 8.11, Client information and publicity, and any solicitor [or registered European lawyer] to whom we may refer you is an independent professional from whom you will receive impartial and confidential advice. You are free to choose another solicitor [or registered European lawyer].
1stClaims Limited - Registered in England and Wales - Reg. Co. No. 06566866. Registered Office Address: Tregyddulan, St Nicholas, Goodwick, Pembrokeshire, SA64 0LX
VAT Reg. No. 938 1976 76 - Information Commissioner’s Office Registration Number Z1477170