Leaving Surgical Items Behind After a Procedure Is More Common Than You ThinkSponges, towels, clamps, tweezers, scalpels, and other surgical objects should never be left inside a patient. If you have been the victim of this type of medical error, you should seek the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to protect your right to compensation.

Never Events and Medical Malpractice

In the healthcare field, retained surgical instruments are considered never events. This means they are the type of mistake that is never supposed to happen. Other examples of never events include a patient developing bed sores, falling due to lack of supervision, or acquiring an infection due to poor sterilization of tools.

If you are the victim of a never event, your healthcare provider has not followed standard protocol for patient care. As a result, compensation is available for the damages you have suffered.

Filing a Claim for Medical Malpractice

The statute of limitations for malpractice in California is normally one year from the date of discovery or no more than three years after the date of the medical care that caused the injury. However, there is a special exemption for foreign objects improperly left in the body. The one year after discovery rule still stands, but there is no upper time limit. Even if it takes a decade to learn of the object that was left inside the body after a surgical procedure, you can still file for compensation as long as you initiate the case within one year of discovery.

Your malpractice settlement should include compensation for:

  • Medical care such as the surgery to remove the foreign object
  • Any additional medical care you will require
  • Lost wages from the additional time off work while you are recovering
  • Applicable loss of future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering, including the physical discomfort and emotional stress of being the victim of a never event

The Inland Empire Law Group handles medical malpractice claims related to treatment by doctors or at hospitals or surgical centers in the Inland Empire, including hospitals in Fontana, San Bernardino, Colton, Victorville, Riverside, Chino, Montclair, Upland and other local facilities. Contact us at (888) 694-3529 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.


David Ricks
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Rancho Cucamonga Personal Injury Lawyer Serving the Inland Empire Community