Chicago Retained Surgical Instruments Attorney
More than 4,000 avoidable surgical errors occur every year in the United States according to WebMD, and most of these mistakes are classified as “never events.” Indeed, these types of medical errors are often described as “never events” since “they are the kind of surgical mistakes that should never happen, like performing the wrong procedure or leaving a sponge inside a patient’s body after surgery.” Sponges are just one type of medical instrument or device that can be left inside a patient’s body following a surgical procedure, and sometimes the patient will not realize the error has occurred until months or even years later. At that point, invasive treatment is needed, and the patient’s life can be in danger.
A Chicago retained surgical instruments lawyer at our firm can provide you with more information about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Common Types of Retained Surgical Instruments in Chicago Surgeries
When a surgical error occurs and a foreign object is left inside a patient’s body, that patient can suffer debilitating and life-threatening harm. Common examples of surgical instruments and objects that are left inside patients’ bodies during surgical procedures include:
- Surgical masks;
- Scalpels; and
Preventing Retained Surgical Foreign Bodies After a Chicago Surgery
Healthcare providers have a duty to ensure that patients do not suffer harm from negligence, including from surgical instruments or surgical foreign bodies left inside a patient after a surgical procedure. Given that these are some of the most devastating types of medical errors, it is critical for surgeons and other healthcare providers to take steps to prevent these injuries. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the following are strategies that should always be implemented to prevent these never events:
- Clear communication during any operating room procedure;
- Systematic and clear counting of every item used during a surgical procedure;
- Employing tracking devices to count sponges used during surgery; and
- Manually counting sponges and other surgical instruments again before the patient’s surgical procedure is completed.
Statute of Limitations for Retained Surgical Instrument Lawsuits in Chicago
Medical malpractice lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations, and that timeline usually starts on the date of the healthcare provider’s negligence.
However, with retained surgical instrument claims, Illinois recognizes that the patient might not realize for an extended period of time that a surgeon has left a device inside his or her body—not until the patient begins experiencing severe pain and suffering and other complications. Accordingly, in such cases, Illinois law allows a patient to have two years from the date of discovering the surgical error (or the date that the patient reasonably should have discovered the negligence) to file a lawsuit.
Contact a Chicago Surgical Error Lawyer for Assistance
If you recently discovered that a healthcare provider left a surgical instrument inside your body during a past surgical procedure, it is essential to begin the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our Chicago surgical error attorneys can assist you. Contact Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman, LLC to learn more.