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What Happens When an Object is Left in the Body After Surgery (RSB)?

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What Happens When an Object is Left in the Body After Surgery (RSB)?

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Retained surgical bodies (RSB) refer to any foreign object left inside a patient’s body after surgery that should not be there. RSB or items left inside the body after surgery is a common form of medical malpractice and can include items such as sponges, towels, wires, and operating tools. According to Medical News Today, studies have shown that at least 39 times every week a surgeon leaves an RSB inside a patient.

These foreign objects can cause extreme damage when left inside a patient’s body, including new and/or worsened injuries. Unfortunately, a common example of this is when a sponge or dressing is left in a woman’s body after being used to absorb excess blood during childbirth. This can result in pain, infections, and other health complications if not immediately addressed.

Some common injuries resulting from objects left in the body after surgery include:

  • Adherence of sponge to organs
  • Obstructions
  • Bowel perforations
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Pain
  • Infections
  • Death

If you suspect a foreign object has been left in your body after surgery, seek alternate medical care, and contact an attorney. It is essential that the problem is addressed immediately to prevent further damage to the patient’s body.

Signs that a foreign object might have been left in the body after surgery:

  • Constipation or difficulty urinating, indicating a blockage.
  • Development of an abscess.
  • Coughing or vomiting blood.
  • Bowel movements are bloody or tar-like.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Drainage or colored streaks emanating from the site of the surgery.
  • An increase of post-surgery pain and/or fatigue as time passes, rather than lessening as should be expected with successful recovery.
  • Swollen lymph nodes, indicating something is wrong inside the body.
  • Severe headache or leg pain, indicating a blockage.
  • Fever, indicating infection.
  • Pus or drainage from the site of the surgery, indicating infection.
  • Undue inflammation in the area surrounding the possible RSB.
  • The site of the surgery looks as though it is coming apart rather than fusing back together.
  • Patches of discolored skin, decreased urination, problems breathing, blood clotting, and unconsciousness are all signs of sepsis which could indicate a foreign object inside the body is causing undue harm.
  • Your recovery is severely unaligned with the standard recovery expected after that type of surgery.

Seeking trusted medical care and contacting an attorney as soon as possible after one of these incidents is twofold. You can seek compensation for the medical bills and lost wages which have likely increased due to the RSB with the added cost of corrective surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation in addition to the unnecessary pain and suffering a patient is put through. It may also prevent the medical provider from making the same mistake again, protecting future patients from enduring the same physical pain and financial stress.

To learn more about what happens when an object is left in the body after surgery, or to discuss your eligibility for a medical malpractice claim, seek legal counsel.

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