Last year, a Tennessee resident was scheduled for a surgery to treat his gastroesophageal reflux disease and hiatal hernia. However, the procedure was aborted when doctors discovered a large artery began bleeding. Rather, the doctors performed a laparotomy to explore the patient’s abdomen and trace the bleeding, using sponges and laparotomy pads to get it under control. Once the bleeding was controlled, they proceeded with the original scheduled surgery.
After the patient was closed, hospital officials realized there were some sponges and pads used to control the bleeding that were unaccounted for. So, the doctors ran scans and tests on the patient, but the scans did not show any sponges inside the patient. The scans were wrong.
Later, the patient’s condition began to deteriorate, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit when he developed respiratory failure. A more thorough scan was conducted, and doctors found a foreign object in the patient’s stomach, near the diaphragm. The patient had yet another surgery, and doctors found he had two lap-pads that were left inside of him.
Overall, the patient experienced invasive tests and vital monitoring devices in addition to the respiratory failure that required an endotracheal intubation for an extended period of time. The patient was unable to breath on his own and required mechanical ventilation. The patient also experienced cardiac arrhythmias and anemia, which meant he received multiple blood transfusions.
On top of all this, the surgery was not covered under Medicare and Medicaid, which meant the patient had to pay for the additional surgery and treatments out-of-pocket. The hospital actually charged the patient for the negligence caused by the doctors it employed.
The Doctors Should Be Held Responsible for Their Negligence
Luckily, this patient survived both procedures and is filing for medical malpractice, given the situation was entirely avoidable. The doctors were simply not paying attention and left surgical devices in the patient. Moreover, the doctors originally suspected the lap-pads were still in the patient, yet were not thorough in running scans. Call us crazy, but there are only so many places the pads and sponges could go in a small operating room. The doctors should have been more diligent in scanning the patient and finding those missing pads. The hospital should be held accountable for the suffering and financial trouble it caused this patient.
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:15