Everyone knows that surgical procedures are risky propositions.  Surgery means that a physician is cutting into your skin, cutting through tissue, moving around muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and even organs.  Some procedures involve removal of body parts, while others involve placement of hardware or medical devices.  However, there is one thing that no surgery is supposed to involve: leaving behind surgical tools.  This is a quiet, lurking risk of any procedure: doctors use clips, sponges, gauze, and other materials in the surgical “field,” on a regular basis.  And while there are a variety of safeguards that hospitals and surgical centers implement for surgeons and their teams to follow (http://www.who.int/patientsafety/safesurgery/ss_checklist/en/), that does not mean that they are always followed.  Even with the best intentions, errors occur.  And sometimes, those errors cause serious problems.

Objects left inside a patient can cause pain, infection, and even death.  The I-Team at ABC7 in Chicago recently profiled a woman who did not discover the mysterious source of back pain following surgery for over eight years (http://abc7chicago.com/health/hidden-agony-when-the-surgeon-leaves-something-inside-you/1336000/).  And once it was discovered, she was barred from being able to hold the surgeon or the hospital accountable due to the Statute of Repose (a 4-year limitation on medical lawsuits regardless of when the person discovers the negligence).

Unless there is a change in Illinois law, this means that patients must remain vigilant when they have unexplained or unexpected problems following surgery.  Ultimately, medical procedures are complex.  But that is why we trust highly-trained professionals to perform those procedures.  And the law allows society to hold those professionals accountable for the standards of their field.  If you have questions about a surgery that have not been answered after talking to your doctors or nurses, perhaps it is time to consult an attorney.  We welcome the opportunity to listen to your story and help you find answers.

There is an organization that tracks surgical safety events called The Joint Commission, and reports can be made to them directly: www.jointcommission.org.

The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services maintains tips to prevent medical errors: http://archive.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/care-planning/errors/20tips/index.html

Everyone knows that surgical procedures are risky propositions.  Surgery means that a physician is cutting into your skin, cutting through tissue, moving around muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and even organs.  Some procedures involve removal of body parts, while others involve placement of hardware or medical devices.  However, there is one thing that no surgery is supposed to involve: leaving behind surgical tools.  This is a quiet, lurking risk of any procedure: doctors use clips, sponges, gauze, and other materials in the surgical “field,” on a regular basis.  And while there are a variety of safeguards that hospitals and surgical centers implement for surgeons and their teams to follow (http://www.who.int/patientsafety/safesurgery/ss_checklist/en/), that does not mean that they are always followed.  Even with the best intentions, errors occur.  And sometimes, those errors cause serious problems.

Objects left inside a patient can cause pain, infection, and even death.  The I-Team at ABC7 in Chicago recently profiled a woman who did not discover the mysterious source of back pain following surgery for over eight years (http://abc7chicago.com/health/hidden-agony-when-the-surgeon-leaves-something-inside-you/1336000/).  And once it was discovered, she was barred from being able to hold the surgeon or the hospital accountable due to the Statute of Repose (a 4-year limitation on medical lawsuits regardless of when the person discovers the negligence).

Unless there is a change in Illinois law, this means that patients must remain vigilant when they have unexplained or unexpected problems following surgery.  Ultimately, medical procedures are complex.  But that is why we trust highly-trained professionals to perform those procedures.  And the law allows society to hold those professionals accountable for the standards of their field.  If you have questions about a surgery that have not been answered after talking to your doctors or nurses, perhaps it is time to consult an attorney.  We welcome the opportunity to listen to your story and help you find answers.

There is an organization that tracks surgical safety events called The Joint Commission, and reports can be made to them directly: www.jointcommission.org.

The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services maintains tips to prevent medical errors: http://archive.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/care-planning/errors/20tips/index.html

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