Do I Have a Case if a Doctor Leaves a Tool Inside of Me After a Surgery? Minnesota Medical Malpractice Attorney Explains


When Doctors Leave Tools Inside of Patients After a Surgery, a Victim Can be Entitled to Compensation for His or Her Injuries


Whenever a patient has to undergo a surgical procedure he or she may feel scared, stressed, and very nervous at the procedure.  This is particularly true where the surgery is a significant one, such as a major joint surgery, abdominal surgery, or back surgery.  Patients trust the healthcare providers to properly perform the surgical procedure to achieve its goal.  While sometimes this is not always possible, especially in risky surgeries, patients still hope that the surgical teams do not cause worse harm to them then when the patient went into the operating room.


However, sometimes surgeons, doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other hospital or office staff make errors during the surgery.  These errors could be significant and even life-threatening, especially when the surgery is a very complicated one.  Patients could even be killed or permanently disabled due to the surgical mistakes of a provider.  While there are several egregious types of surgical medical malpractice mistakes, none may be worse than a foreign object left inside of a patient.


What are Foreign Objects in Medical Malpractice Cases?


A foreign object is the term used for any surgical tools, equipment, or materials which are left inside of a patient following a surgery.  This may seem like a nightmare scenario, and it is, but this actually happens.  And it happens often.


Some common foreign objects left inside of a patient include the following:


  • Pads;
  • Surgical sponges;
  • Wires;
  • Drill bits or attachments;
  • Needles or syringes;
  • Surgical tools like knifes, screwdrivers, or saws;
  • Plastic gloves;
  • Towels;
  • Clothing; and
  • Other foreign objects.


Anything that is left inside of a patient unintentionally is a foreign object which a victim of Minnesota medical malpractice may be entitled to compensation for.


Proving a Foreign Objects Case in Minnesota: Using Res Ipsa Loquitur to Win Your Case


Foreign object cases are the types of cases that are entirely preventable and avoidable.  Because of these, there are several theories of liability that a victim can use to prove his or her case.


Under a theory of common law negligence, or judge-made law, a victim must prove that the healthcare provider 1) had a duty of care to avoid leaving a tool inside a patient, 2) that the duty was breached, and 3) that the breach caused damages to the victim.  Here, it is easy for a victim to establish that the healthcare provider should not leave objects inside of a patient.  Proof of a foreign object is confirmed with a x-ray, imaging scan, or second surgery to remove the foreign object.  And a foreign object causes damage due to an infection, pain, suffering, or a second operation to remove the object, which satisfies the last criteria.  Thus, a patient can usually prove this case.


Additionally, a victim could use the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor.  This is a legal doctrine which literally translates to “the thing speaks for itself,” meaning that the very fact this occurred is negligent.  This is where the defendant has control of the object which causes your harm, the victim does not contribute to the injury, and the event does not occur absent negligence.  Here, when a doctor leaves a foreign object inside of a patient it will satisfy all of those elements.


Did a Doctor Leave a Foreign Object Inside of Your or a Loved One?  Call Kuhlman Law, LLC Now!


If you or a loved one have been injured due to the medical malpractice of a healthcare provider such as a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other health care service professional, call Kuhlman Law, LLC for a FREE consultation by dialing (612) 444-3374 to learn what your rights to compensation may be.  If we accept your case, we will conduct a thorough review of your case and advise you whether there may have been a serious medical mistake causing your injury.   There is no risk, and you do not owe us money unless we win your case.

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