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  • When it comes to retained surgical objects, what is classified as a foreign object?

    In a single medical procedure, a surgical team can use up to 250 different objects and tools. Anything that is inadvertently left inside a patient qualifies as a foreign object for the purpose of filing a malpractice claim.  

    Types of Retained Surgical Objects

    Retained surgical objects can include:

    • Sponges
    • Towels
    • Scalpels
    • Tweezers
    • Clamps
    • Forceps
    • Scopes
    • Needles
    • Guide wires
    • Tubes
    • Measuring devices
    • Surgical masks
    • Surgical gloves

    Sponges make up about 70 percent of retained surgical object cases. Sponges are easily left inside a patient because they are very small and hard to spot with the naked eye once they Retained Surgical Tools and Medical Malpractice Claims have been used to soak up blood. Large surgical instruments such as forceps are the least likely type of foreign object to be left inside patients but in rare instances they have been left behind.

    Foreign objects are most likely to be left behind when the patient is having emergency surgery or there are unexpected complications during an otherwise routine procedure. The majority of claims for malpractice involve objects left in the abdomen, vagina, or the chest cavity.

    Complications from Retained Surgical Objects in California

    Symptoms caused by foreign objects in the body include:

    • Chronic pain
    • Swelling
    • Fever
    • Digestive problems
    • Internal bleeding
    • Obstructions
    • Damage to internal organs
    • Infection

    Although large foreign objects in the body are often discovered fairly quickly, there have been cases of smaller retained surgical objects going undetected for years. Patients often mistake their initial discomfort as part of the recovery process or a common illness such as the flu.

    Filing a Malpractice Claim in Rancho Cucamonga, California

    Since foreign objects should never be left inside a patient, you have a solid malpractice claim if you have discovered a retained surgical object inside your body. You can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

    Inland Empire Law Group serves residents with medical malpractice claims throughout San Bernardino and Riverside County and in cities such as Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Victorville, Fontana, and the surrounding areas. Our Rancho Cucamonga medical malpractice attorney can assess the worth of your case, line up the evidence to support a malpractice claim, and negotiate with the insurer on your behalf for the highest possible settlement. Contact our California injury attorneys at (888) 694-3529 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.


  • Prescription drug costs are rising all the time. How do I know my settlement will be enough to pay for the future costs of my medications?

    Concerns About the Changing Costs of Prescription MedicationsSome medical malpractice victims may require ongoing prescription drug therapy as a result of their injuries. For victims without health insurance, or who have high deductibles or co-pays, and paltry prescription drug coverage, receiving the medication they need can be extremely expensive. In some cases, victims may simply be unable to afford the medications they need.

    Should I Be Concerned About the Rising Costs of Prescription Medications?

    While the cost of future prescription drugs is factored into medical malpractice settlements, the prices of these drugs regularly rise by significant margins. In fact, prescription drug costs increased by a shocking 9.8 percent between May 2015 and May 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal, and 2016 marked the third consecutive year that prescription drug prices in the United States rose by approximately 10 percent. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why a medical malpractice victim might be concerned that whatever settlement they are offered won't account for the rising cost of prescription drugs.

    However, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who has experience handling medical malpractice cases can make sure that his client's future prescription drug needs, including potential cost increases, are accounted for in his settlement. The attorney can also help ensure that his client is appropriately compensated for other related medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

    Consult an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

    If you were a victim of malpractice at the hands of a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, you should not be forced to bear the costs of your injury on your own. The cost of medical visits, hospitalizations, and prescription drugs can add up quickly until they become insurmountable. The personal injury attorneys with the Inland Empire Law Group can help medical malpractice victims protect their right to collect a financial recovery. Contact the Inland Empire Law Group today at (888) 694-3529 to schedule a free initial consultation.


  • Can I sue for objects left behind after surgery?

    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.


  • Why are Medical Malpractice Claims so Hard to Win?

    I receive phone calls nearly daily from people who indicate that they suffered from the negligence of a doctor. Many of these stories do support the allegation of medical negligence, but there is nothing I can do to help them receive compensation for their injuries. Why is that? Let’s start with the costs associated with a medical negligence claim. These cases require costly expert witnesses and medical records, etc. So by the time a case is ready to settle or go to trial, the costs of the claim can exceeded the possible value of any recovery. As a result, only significant injury claims can justifiably to be brought to court.

    The next challenge has to do with a natural bias held by jurors who want to believe in the doctor and his/her integrity. We naturally hate to believe that those we trust, such as doctors, police officers, etc., can do wrong. Unfortunately, even good people make mistakes. These mistakes can cause injuries to others. There is a saying that a patient in a lawsuit starts with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, behind by two runs. It’s a tough place to start. Statistics show that 80% of all malpractice cases which reach trial, are lost by the patient.

    The third challenge has to do with the malpractice caps of $250,000.00 and the way these claims interact with medical insurance, etc. The laws, the jury instructions and the reimbursement requirements all seem to favor the doctors and hospitals over the injury victim’s rights.

    So how does a viable malpractice claim get through these challenges and results in an award of damages? It starts with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. If the lawyer understands the issues, and whether negligence exists, then good cases rise to the top (so to speak) and those which can’t be pursued are turned away. Understanding the interplay between mere negligence for which no claim can be made and actionable negligence will result in good cases succeeding.

  • If a doctor was negligent in performing a surgery, do I have a case against the doctor?

    The simple answer is, maybe.  Isn’t that just like a lawyer?  But that answer is accurate.  Not all negligent acts by a physician result in a recoverable claim. 

    Let’s look at this through an example.  Sarah has  surgery to remove her gallbladder.  During the surgery, an error is made and damage is caused to an internal organ.  During the surgery, the error is seen and repaired.  The recovery took a bit longer due to the error, but the ultimate recovery was complete.  So was there negligence, and is it actionable? 

    First, with all surgeries there are risks, including possible injury to adjoining organs.  The occurrence of a  known risk is not  negligence if the doctor followed accepted procedures. 

    Second,  even if the doctor failed to follow proper procedures, but that conduct did not cause significant injury, then this error would not result in an actionable claim. 

    Finally, if the doctor improperly performed the surgery and the patient had serious injury as a result of the error, then a claim may exist against the doctor.  The patient would need to prove that the doctor fell below the standard of care accepted in the medical field, that there was significant damage and that the damage was actually caused by the negligence.

    80% or more malpractice cases are lost by the patient.  Therefore, a trained malpractice lawyer needs to carefully review the facts before bringing a claim against any doctor.  David H. Ricks, the principal attorney at the Inland Empire Law Group a Rancho Cucamonga malpractice attorney, has been handling medical malpractice claims for nearly 20 years and can evaluate your case.  Call 1-888-MYIELAWYER or 909-481-0100 to schedule an appointment.