Hospital fined for medical towel that was left in patient

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2016 | Surgical Errors

New Mexico patients may be interested in learning that a hospital has been fined after a surgeon left a towel inside his abdomen during a surgery. The incident occurred in 2014 at the Community Regional Medical Center.

The patient stated that he had his bladder and prostate removed during surgery at the hospital. Following the surgery, the patient said that he felt worse. By the next month, he reportedly had lost over 40 pounds and had no energy. When he followed up with the hospital, the doctor found a mass inside the patient’s body. A second surgery occurred in July to remove the mass. The blue surgical towel was then discovered.

It was found that the hospital was tracking the medical tools that were being used on the patient. However, this tracking did not include the towels. A representative for the hospital stated that they were taking corrective steps to prevent this type of incident from happening again. The hospital was fined $86,000 for the incident, and a lawsuit was expected to be filed.

An operating room error could cause a patient to suffer serious complications that could lead to injuries, illness or even death in severe cases. If a medical tool or medical materials are found inside a patient’s body following a surgical procedure, the patient may potentially have the ability to file a medical malpractice claim against the operating personnel and the hospital where the surgery took place. In many cases, the patient can seek compensation for the pain and suffering that they experienced due to the surgical errors. They may also be able to recover the costs of unneeded surgeries or additional surgeries that were needed as a direct result of the error.

Source: Inquisitr, “California hospital fined after surgeon accidentally leaves towel inside patient“, Cindy Jovanoski, Feb. 1, 2016


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