News Headlines Article

When your surgeon accidentally leaves something inside you
Washington Post

Other than removing the wrong kidney or something like that, one of the more harmful things a surgeon can do is leave material inside you that doesn’t belong there. While rare, “retained surgical items” can cause quite a bit of harm, beyond pain and suffering: readmission, additional surgeries, abscesses, intestinal fistulas, obstructions, visceral perforations and even death.

Studies estimate that this happens once in every 5,500 to 7,000 surgeries; there were 51.4 million in-patient procedures performed in 2010, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The authors of a new study estimate that a typical hospital has two of these incidents each year.