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A judge in Florida recently sued a pair of radiologists and a surgeon for medical malpractice after the trio managed to leave a foot-long sponge inside of him following abdominal surgery. Not only was the sponge a full 12 inches in length, it was also 12 inches wide.
Even so, though the judge repeatedly complained of intensifying pain following his surgery, physicians still failed to discover the huge sponge sitting in his abdominal cavity. Finally, five months after the initial surgery, the sponge was identified.
During the subsequent surgery to remove it, surgeons found that the sponge and begun to rot while in his stomach and the festering had caused serious damage to the surrounding tissue. As a result, a portion of the judge’s large intestine had to be removed along with the sponge.
Following his settlement with the hospital, which remained private, the judge expressed his opinion on the mix-up and other similar instances of medical malpractice. First and foremost, someone or something has to be on hand to either spot equipment left inside the patient or account for the retrieval of all tools used during a surgery.
Secondly, he opined that settlements ought to be reached between the hospital and patient, without legislation butting in to levy medical malpractice caps.
This was certainly an extreme case of medical malpractice, but similar things happen in hospitals across the United States every day. These errors, while easy to make, should be easy to prevent. Like most hospital-acquired infections, medication errors and other rectifiable deficiencies in process – surgical mistakes such as this can and should be avoidable.