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Surgical errors: Doctors leave surgical dressing in woman

A Delaware state agency requires medical professionals to report certain medical mistakes called adverse events. Adverse events are usually mistakes that could result in serious harm or death of a patient. They are required to be reported to spark investigations, and investigations could reveal insight of ways to prevent other adverse events. A hospital in another state has had many recent investigations regarding adverse events, including ones that resulted from surgical errors.

One investigation in the hospital began after a woman was found to have a surgical dressing in her body two weeks after her surgery was completed. The patient saw emergency room physicians for symptoms of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea just days after surgery, but after a negative X-ray and tests, she was discharged to home. It would take another trip to the emergency room with continued negative complaints for physicians to discover possible surgical material within her abdomen. The tissue was removed, but the incident was not reported to the state agency as required.

The hospital did not report the incident for almost an entire year. Allegedly, multiple medical professionals were aware of the incident and understood that the incident should have been reported. The health department in California was already investigating the incident prior to the report. The hospital has since been fined for its delayed reporting and has been investigated for other complaints.

Suffering from any kind of medical mistake or surgical errors can be detrimental to a patient. Healing may be delayed and serious injury may occur. Not only may physical harm result, but treatment for unexpected injuries can add up quickly. Attorneys in Delaware with experience in medical malpractice can advise patients of how to seek compensation in civil court for any related financial losses.

Source:, "TRMC errors 'substantiated' by state", James Houck, June 30, 2017

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