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After surgery, what instruments are often left in the body?

One of the potential dangers of going in for surgery is having the doctor leave an instrument behind. This is never supposed to happen. Surgeons and their teams are supposed to count and keep careful track of everything.

However, it continues to happen. Since you're already expecting to be in pain after surgery, you may not even realize that something is wrong for weeks or months. When your symptoms do not go away or keep getting worse, you realize there is a serious problem.

So, what are the items most often left behind? The most common ones are:

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

Every surgery is different, requiring different tools, and anything at all in the operating room is a potential risk.

Still, these examples help to show you just how many tools and devices may be in use at the same time when you are in surgery. The sheer amount can make it difficult for the team to keep track of them, and they may leave something behind even after attempting to be vigilant and avoid mistakes.

When this happens, you'll need extra doctor's appointments and exams while they figure out what went wrong, and then you will need to have surgery again to remove the foreign objects.

This can all grow very costly, both in terms of medical bills and lost wages. Make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation to help cover the costs associated with the negligence.

Source: ThoughtCo, "Objects Most Commonly Left Inside the Body After Surgery," Regina Bailey, accessed April 03, 2018

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