Every year, thousands of U.S. patients suffer injuries because surgical items or foreign objects are left inside their body during an operation. It’s so frequent that there are medical terms that describe this as a distinct medical condition. When the surgical object left behind is a textile object or a sponge, the condition is known as gossypiboma. When the object left is a surgical tool or traces of a shattered implant, the broad medical term is “retained foreign object” (RFO). Shockingly, while these mistakes should be obvious situations where the culprits assume responsibility, hospitals and doctors frequently try to avoid accountability. Without the right lawyer advocating for you, you can lose critical opportunities to obtain compensation or necessary information.
The Baltimore-based team of attorneys at Bennett and Heyman, P.C., offers trustworthy and high-quality legal representation in cases of foreign objects left in the body. With an established medical malpractice firm, our attorneys have over 70 years of remarkable accomplishments in Baltimore. They are known for their aggressive approach to determining losses and for fighting effectively against the underhanded tactics used to avoid legal responsibility. Call (410) 429-7856 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Top Causes of Surgical Error Injuries
Baltimore is supposed to have some of the most prominent surgical centers in the country. However, errors where foreign objects are left in the body occur despite the existence of preventive measures. Forgotten foreign objects in the body are one of the most underreported medical errors.
According to the independent nonprofit Emergency Care Institute (ECRI) 2019 report on health hazards, RFOs are a concerning health hazard; the problem persists in spite of reliable preventive mechanisms. A possible reason for underreporting is the out-of-court settlements in these types of cases used to avoid negative publicity. If you are offered a settlement option, speak to an experienced attorney before making a decision. There are multiple causes of action you can file for RFOs left inside the body, including:
Doctors in Maryland have a duty to take precautions when applying recognized standards of care. One of the main functions of a physician is to ensure that surgeries follow certain standards, including the proper counting and removal of objects before suturing the surgical incision. Medical malpractice claims are based on the notion that doctors are not supposed to deviate from these standards and should count all instruments before closing a wound.
Hospitals have a duty to protect patients against senseless mistakes. Hospitals can be held accountable for the errors of their staff physicians. When hospitals don’t enforce standards and supervise staff and other physicians to ensure their competency, these omissions constitute negligence.
Manufacturer Error and Defective Products
There are instances when fragments of an implant break during implantation, as is often the case with implants that use screws. There are also instances when pieces of a surgical tool can break and cause injuries in a patient. When these objects break as a result of a manufacturing defect, the maker of the medical device can be held liable for your losses.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland
Maryland laws don’t give victims of surgical errors an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit. According to Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-109, victims of medical malpractice and hospital negligence have five years from the time the injury occurs or three years from the time the damage is discovered. There are limited exceptions to this rule. However, failure to meet deadlines known as statutes of limitation can forestall your case.
Moreover, if your injuries occurred in a public hospital and your lawsuit is against public officials, Maryland requires you to notify the state within just one year of the date of the injury.
Types of Damages Maryland Medical Error Victims Can Recover
There is a wide variety of medical complications caused by foreign objects left inside the body. These complications can lead to a life rife with medical issues. Some of the medical complications can be devastating when a foreign object is left inside for a long time, and the patient suffers symptoms and medical problems that mimic other severe conditions such as cancer. Whenever someone endures these severe afflictions, the calculated compensation should be consistent with the losses the injured victim and his or her loved ones will suffer. Non-economic losses such as pain and suffering are recoverable in Maryland within specified limits or cap of $810,000. While there are no caps for economic damages in Maryland, there are some limitations, and the costs must be justified. Financial losses include:
- Loss of earnings or wages
- Lifestyle changes or loss of life expectancy
- Payment for medical expenses and rehabilitation
- Cost of living as a result of impairments resulting from the injury
Experience in calculating losses or damages is vital to sustain our clients’ needs. In cases where a client expects a life of hardships and unexpected expenses because of a doctor or hospital’s negligence, the evaluation of medical needs cannot underestimate future costs.
Call a Baltimore Attorney for a Foreign Object Left Behind After Surgery
The highly skilled attorneys of Bennett and Heyman, P.C. have recovered hundreds of millions in monetary awards for their clients. Their strong record of accomplishments is due to their relentless commitment to fighting for their clients’ rights. If you or someone you know suffered injuries as a result of a foreign object left in the body in Baltimore, you should contact Bennett and Heyman, P.C. While leaving objects is most certainly a deviation from standards, there are ways in which doctors try to avoid legal responsibility. Call (410) 429-7856 to learn more about how we can help you pursue the available causes of action and seek compensation for your injuries.