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C-Sections: Foreign Retained Objects Can Cause Serious Injury

One of the most problematic types of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or nurse accidentally leaves an instrument or piece of equipment inside a patient's body during a surgery. Experts refer to this problem as "foreign retained objects." Although foreign retained object errors are completely avoidable, they have potentially catastrophic consequences for thousands of American patients every year.

For example, one woman suffered from numerous complications and problems after a medical team left a laparotomy pad inside her body during a C-section. The woman suddenly developed severe painful symptoms more than three years after the surgery. By the time the medical ordeal was over, she underwent several surgeries and suffered a series of dangerous complications, including sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome. 

Foreign retained object mistakes are so serious that doctors refer to them as "never events." These mistakes should "never" happen. Hospitals have responded to growing awareness by imposing new procedures to ensure that nurses and surgeons are not forgetting objects inside patients. Despite these attempts at safeguards, foreign retained object errors happen all too frequently during C-sections.

Source: Contemporary Ob/Gyn, "Tracers, counts help defense in retained foreign object cases," Dawn Collins, Apr. 1, 2013 

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