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Lawsuit: Surgeon Leaves Sponge in Patient

A man went to a surgeon for a routine surgery and ended up suffering from numerous complications because the surgeon left a sponge inside him. He has filed a lawsuit over the surgical error.

Lenny LeClair went to the hospital last year for a routine surgery, but left in worse shape than he came in. “I never stopped throwing up,” said Leclair, who lost 100 lbs.

“I thought I was dying,” he said. “I felt like I was dying.”

By the time doctors had figured out what was making him sick, LeClair had nearly died. The doctors discovered that they had left a sponge inside of him and that it had pierced his colon.

The Problem

Approximately 1,500 Americans suffer this same fate each year. Sometimes, the surgical instrument poses no harm, but other times, it can kill the patient.

Sponges and other surgical instruments can be left behind when they are covered in blood and difficult to see. Furthermore, hospital staffs rely on an archaic method of making sure they have removed all of the sponges and instruments: they count them.

“Basically, the counting procedure for instruments and sponges is the same as it was 40 years ago,” said Alex Macario, MD, an anesthesiologist at Stanford School of Medicine.

A Step Forward

“We’re trying to use 21st century technology to help people keep track of supplies in the operating room,” Marcario said.

The technology in question is radio frequency identification (RFID). Doctors hope to be able to implant small chips to surgical instruments and sponges so that they can be identified by waving a wand over the patient, similar to how a metal detector would detect metal.

“What we’re interested in now is how to make it more foolproof so that it’s not dependent on the personnel in the operating room to do the scan correctly every time on every patient,” said Dr. macario.

Victim of medical malpractice? If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical expenses, pain, suffering and more. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation with a caring and experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you plan the best recourse. 

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