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 object, often times with extended hospitalization to fight infection. This is a “never, ever” type of event since 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.
‡ 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 cases with “retained” surgical equipment can be found here:
975K – Manhattan – surgical drain left behind
Surgical drain negligently left in the knee of a 79-year old New York woman after a total knee replacement, resulting in infection, multiple surgeries and fusion of the knee.
450K – Surgical pad negligently left in New York woman
80-year old woman had bowel surgery, with “retained” pad, resulting in infection, ICU care, temporary tracheotomy and severe weakening of an already fragile condition.
175K – Surgical sponge left at NYU University Medical Center
72-year old New York woman ha bypass surgery, with sponge left behind, necessitating additional surgery to remove it
100K – Broken scissor blade left in a Bronx patient
Discovered many years after a hysterectomy at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, when precautionary x-rays taken after being sideswiped by a car.
125K – Bronx Woman discovers laparotomy left behind after Cesarean section
38-year-old Bronx woman discovers pad left in her abdomen while atJacobi Hospital, discovered two years later.