Tulsa Retained Surgical Object Lawyer
When a patient agrees to undergo a surgical procedure, he or she knowingly accepts certain risks that go along with the operation. These may include health complications or additional procedures. Assumed risks never include retained objects. Retained objects, or items surgeons accidentally leave behind, are glaring examples of medical malpractice. It is a type of surgical error that can cause the patient great harm or even wrongful death. If you or a loved one has suffered this type of malpractice, contact the Tulsa injury attorneys of Bryan & Terrill Law right away. You likely have grounds for a lawsuit against the surgeon, hospital, and/or other parties.
How Often Do Retained Object Cases Occur?
Retained surgical items (RSIs) are “never events,” or events that would never happen in a proficient and safe operating room. Surgeons, assistants, and operating nurses can prevent this disaster through adequate communication and safety procedures, such as counting surgical instruments before and after the operation. When someone leaves an object behind in the body cavity, an act of negligence or carelessness has occurred. There is no reason for retained objects to ever occur in a safe operating room, under professional supervision.
Nobody expects to become the victim of an RSI. Yet up to 4,000 new RSI cases occur every year in the U.S, according to reports from the National Quality Forum. Surgeons and other parties can negligently leave behind surgical sponges, needles, and other instruments due to communication failures or careless operating procedures. An RSI can cause significant injury to a patient, resulting in inflammation, infection, obstruction, adhesions, and sepsis. A patient may visit the doctor with complaints of infection, pain, or tenderness, only to find that a retained object from a prior surgery is causing health problems or injuries.
Despite the busy and chaotic environment of an operating room, it is every healthcare professional’s duty to ensure that the procedure is reasonably safe for the patient. This duty includes adhering to facility rules and regulations such as counting sponges after a procedure. If a miscount occurs, or if the staff ignores the rules altogether, this can result in items getting left behind and wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting patient. Retained surgical items are medical malpractice, and may give victims grounds for civil lawsuits in Oklahoma.
Suing for Retained Surgical Items
A retained object is an example of a surgical error that almost always stems from negligence. The term for this type of professional negligence in Oklahoma is medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims entail their own rules and requirements for patients who want to file. In Oklahoma, a patient has two years from the date of injury or the date of discovery of injury to file a medical malpractice claim. If the act of malpractice killed the patient, surviving loved ones have two years from the date of the death.
Oklahoma courts require an affidavit of merit before they will agree to hear a medical malpractice suit. This is an attorney-signed document that states that an expert witness has reviewed the allegations and believes the case has merit. An attorney can help you create an affidavit of merit and fulfill other filing requirements for a medical malpractice case concerning a retained object. To schedule a consultation, call Bryan & Terrill Law at (918) 935-2777 or go online.