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Answers | Advice | Results

Signs a surgeon left something inside a patient’s body

On Behalf of | Oct 17, 2018 | Firm News |

Most surgeries end perfectly with no complications to the patient. However, every year, stories crop up of surgeons leaving foreign objects inside a patient’s body. One of the most well-publicized cases of this happening occurred this year when a woman discovered a surgeon left two surgical sponges inside her body. She realized she had an issue when she noticed abnormal stomach bloating.

Surgeons can leave an array of objects inside a body cavity, including scalpels, scissors, tubes, surgical gloves, forceps and other objects medical professionals need during surgery. Objects get left behind for many reasons, and patients should pay attention to any warning signs immediately following an invasive procedure. 

Symptoms of an infection

One of the most dangerous things that can happen due to a foreign object being inside the body involves bodily systems rejecting the material. Some of the most common infection symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Pus
  • Fever
  • Discoloration

A patient may also see the incision site beginning to come apart. No matter how small the symptom might be, he or she should see a doctor promptly to have a professional check it out. 

Post-operative complications

Patients with surgical tools inside their bodies will also typically experience extreme headaches and leg pain. This discomfort can either be intermittent or chronic. In most cases, this pain will remain localized near the site of the surgery. A patient may also notice having difficulty with normal bodily functions, such as eating, swallowing and breathing. Foreign objects can also lead to blockages, leading to trouble urinating and constipation. In general, patients will also experience an overall decline in health, resulting in constant fatigue and weakness. 

Patients are more likely to notice when a sharp tool, such as a pair of scissors, is inside their bodies. However, even soft items, such as gauze and cotton, can also lead to immense complications that require prompt correction.