The Turkewitz Law Firm

New York Personal Injury Attorney ♦ Medical Malpractice ♦ Trial Lawyer

Serving Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester, Nassau & Suffolk Counties
Eric Turkewitz
228 E. 45 St., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 983-5900

Surgical Mistakes

The x-rays and case summaries on this page are from New York medical malpractice lawsuits where surgical equipment was inadvertently left inside the patient at the close of surgery.

Retained sponges/lap pads and other instruments can result in serious conditions including sepsis, intestinal obstruction, fistula or abscess formation and adhesions. A secondary surgical procedure is often required for removal of the retained foreign item, often times with extended hospitalization to fight infection. The surgical team is supposed to count all instruments and pads at the beginning of surgery and again at the end, to avoid this very problem.

X-ray of a retained clamp that the surgical team forgot to remove. X-ray of a surgical scissor blade that broke off that the surgical team didn’t notice.
   
Surgical sponge that was left in a patient, identified by the radio-opaque thread inside the sponge. X-ray of a retained clamp that the surgical team forgot to remove.
   
Retained laparotomy pad, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, 1998. ‡ Retained laparotomy pad, Jacobi Hospital, Bronx, New York, 1996

This is a pad made from several layers of gauze folded into a rectangular shape and used especially as a sponge for packing off the viscera in abdominal operations. It is identifiable on x-ray by the radio-opaque material that it uses.

Summaries of published cases on the subject can be found here:

Updated: 2/10/2014
Copyright 2006 2014 Eric Turkewitz & The Turkewitz Law Firm
Web Site Design, Hosting, & Domain Name Services by Skylark NetWorks, Bellmore NY

2011 ABA Journal Blawg 100