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Surgical Tools Left Inside Patient Cases are Common but 17 Years is a New Record!


I've recently read an article about a patient whose doctors struggled to identify the source of ongoing pain and stiffness in his elbow over a two year period. After finally arranging an x-ray, they discovered that the cause of his pain was in fact a broken piece of needle which had been left in his arm after a steroid injection.

Unfortunately, as Clinical Negligence Solicitors we see cases like this all too frequently. For example, I am currently representing a man who underwent surgery in July 1994 to repair a severe fracture to his right leg. He has suffered with pain and swelling to his right leg ever since, which has caused him to require time off work on several occasions over the years.

He was told his symptoms were due to the fact he had suffered such a bad fracture. It was also suggested he may have an infection of the bone, but scans showed no abnormality. In February 2011, my client noticed a lump "popping out" of his leg. He underwent surgery to explore the lump, where it was discovered that foreign material, probably a swab, had been left inside his leg following his operation 17 years earlier!

We are now bringing a claim against the hospital where the original surgery was performed. We are likely to allege that hospital staff were negligent in failing to carry out a proper swab count at the beginning and end of the operation in 1994, leading to my client suffering severe symptoms of pain and swelling over a 17 year period.

I've experienced cases where foreign materials have been left inside patients over periods ranging from 5 weeks to 12 years, but my client's 17 years sets a new record! Thankfully, since having the foreign material removed my client has made a good recovery, but this doesn't excuse the fact that he has suffered for so many years due to a medical mistake which was entirely preventable.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence claim, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.