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Recognizing the Symptoms of a Surgical Foreign Body Could Save Your Life

SymptomsWhen a patient undergoes surgery, they place their lives in the hands of the surgeon and their surgical team. What happens when someone makes a mistake and leaves behind a foreign object? In many cases, it can lead to serious injury, and in the worst of situations, it can lead to death. Thankfully, victims can reduce their risk of such issues by knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a retained surgical item. Learn more, including how an experienced attorney can help you or your loved one seek compensation after a death or injury caused by a retained object, with help from the following information.

How Common are Retained Surgical Items?

A retained foreign body might seem like a rare occurrence, but statistics indicate that it occurs far more frequently than patients realize. In fact, approximately 1 in 1,500 surgeries involve a retained surgical item. Approximately 70 percent of those items are fabric, while around 30 percent of the items are metal.

What are the Risks of a Retained Surgical Item?

Retained surgical items that are metal do often result in better outcomes for patients, simply because the signs and symptoms are typically more acute with retained metal items than with fabric ones. In fact, repeat surgery is far more common to result in mortality for a victim if the retained surgical item was fabric; this is often due to the way that fabric items can mesh with and even wrap around the body’s vital organs.

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of a Retained Surgical Item

Because the signs and symptoms of a retained surgical item are often more noticeable with metal items than with fabric ones, and because the risk of injury or death is so high, victims need to know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a retained surgical item early on. These symptoms include:

  • Black, bloody, or tar-like stools;
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood;
  • Constipation;
  • Difficulty urinating;
  • Development of an abscess or fistula;
  • Drainage seeping from or near the wound site;
  • Difficulty performing basic functions (i.e. breathing, eating, swallowing, etc.);
  • Streaking near the incision site;
  • An overall decline in health (i.e. progressive weakness after surgery);
  • Severe pain near or around the surgical site;
  • Fever;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Swelling or tenderness near or around the surgical site;
  • Swollen lymph nodes;
  • Severe leg pain; and
  • Unexplained weight loss.
When a Retained Surgical Item Causes Death or Injury

Patients who experience a retained surgical item during surgery are often owed compensation for any losses or injuries they have experienced – that includes the death of a loved one. Sadly, these same victims are often at a disadvantage against the teams of attorneys employed by doctors, hospitals, and their insurance companies. Increase your chances of receiving a full and fair settlement by contacting Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, LLP. Our San Jose medical malpractice lawyers will protect your rights and aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Call (408) 289-1417 and schedule your free consultation with us today.

Client Reviews
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.