A medical malpractice case was filed on June 23, 2014 against a Kentucky plastic surgeon and other health care providers by a woman who claimed that her plastic surgeon unintentionally left five sponges in her thigh following surgery on July 8, 2013. The woman had injured her left thigh and went to a local hospital for treatment on July 2, 2013. It was not until July 5, 2013 that she was admitted to the hospital to undergo debridement of her thigh, to remove dead tissue. The surgery took place on July 8, 2013 and was performed by the defendant plastic surgeon.
Following the debridement, the woman experienced continued pain and her thigh condition deteriorated. She had to have tubes placed to drain fluid from her thigh. Finally, an ultrasound was ordered to determine the cause of her continuing problems, which showed that the plastic surgeon had left 5 surgical sponges in the woman’s thigh after closing the surgical site over a month earlier.
The woman had to have additional surgery on August 13, 2013, to remove the sponges, and she spent seven weeks in the hospital while her thigh healed. She alleges that she will need additional surgeries in the future as a result of her injuries, and that she has been unemployable because she cannot stand on her left leg (additionally, the woman alleges in her medical malpractice lawsuit that on at least three occasions after her initial surgery, two of which were witnessed by another person, the plastic surgeon made comments to her regarding her pubic area, including, “Spread your legs like your boyfriend was here,” “I’m glad you shave,” and “You need to shave with a straight razor”).
The woman filed her Kentucky medical malpractice lawsuit against the plastic surgeon who did the debridement and left the 5 sponges behind as well as the hospital where the debridement took place, alleging that the left behind sponges caused her to suffer a staph infection and leading to a build up of fluids in her thigh. The medical malpractice case seeks punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages, for alleged willful, intentional, and malicious acts and omissions.
On July 31, 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it was taking several actions to improve the quality of care in hospitals and reduce the number of “never events,” which are preventable medical errors that result in serious consequences for the patient (“never events” are errors in medical care that are clearly identifiable, preventable, and serious in their consequences for patients, and that indicate a real problem in the safety and credibility of a health care facility). The Acting Administrator of CMS stated at that time, “Never events cause serious injury or death to beneficiaries and result in unnecessary costs to Medicare and Medicaid due to the need to treat the consequences of the errors. The steps taken today reflect our strong conviction that these events, in fact, should be prevented, and our commitment to protecting Medicare and Medicaid patients from them.”
Included in the original list of “never events” was the “retention of a foreign object in a patient after surgery or other procedure,” which would include unintentionally leaving sponges in patients after surgery.
If you or a loved one had retained sponges after surgery or another never event in Kentucky or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the legal advice of a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to complete and submit a secure form, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959, to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in Kentucky or medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.