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Some North Carolina surgical errors can be sponge related

When most people think of mistakes occurring during surgery, a complicated part of the procedure is typically comes to mind. However, there is another significant cause of surgical injury that is fairly straight forward. These surgical errors involve medical staff sewing up a patient with a sponge or other material still inside them, an issue that occurs with more regularity then many North Carolina citizens may believe.

It was reported that between 4,500 and 6,000 incidents happen each year in the United States where a device is left inside a patient. This can lead to long lasting issues that patients can suffer through for years without discovering. When the issue is finally discovered, the risk of serious infection can force the patient to seek emergency care that can cost upwards of $60,000 and, in some instances, can even cost the patient their life.

It has been reported that sponges, which account for about one-third of the total number of items left inside a patient after surgery, can have electronic tracking devices installed on them. However, less than 15 percent of hospitals currently use these devices, even though it would only raise the cost of a surgery between $8-12. Hospital officials have pointed to their increasingly tight budgets as one reason why many have elected not to use the devices during their operations.

The risk of surgical errors during an operation is a substantial concern for all procedures completed at North Carolina hospitals. If medical professionals fail to take the necessary precautions and a patient is injured as a result, this could lead to a medical malpractice claim. This claim could result in the patient receiving compensation for all their pain and suffering that was a result of someone else's failure to exercise the standard of care they are required to adhere to when a patient falls under their care.

Source: USA Today, "What surgeons leave behind costs some patients dearly," Peter Eisler, March 8, 2013

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