A piece of equipment left inside a patient after surgery is known as a retained foreign object. This is often one of the first things mentioned in discussions about medical errors and malpractice claims. Retained foreign objects can be very dangerous, even deadly, for patients.

Below are four of the ways you can suffer if a piece of surgical equipment, such as a sponge or a retractor, is left inside your body after surgery.

You Can Get an Infection

An unsterilized object can bring foreign bacteria into your body, putting you at risk of infection. This is the top concern in cases where sponges are the objects left inside patients’ bodies because sponges are porous and can harbor a significant amount of bacteria in their holes. An infection can lead to complications like sepsis, kidney damage, infertility, and blood poisoning.

You Can Suffer an Internal Laceration

Sharp objects like surgical knives can cut your internal tissue and organs, potentially piercing them and causing internal bleeding. This can cause your body to lose red blood cells, which will inhibit its ability to move oxygen through the body. If this happens, you can suffer from shock and organ failure from the lack of oxygen.

You Can Suffer an Obstruction

Surgical equipment can block key passageways in various body systems, such as the intestines. This can cause the patient to suffer an obstruction, which basically means that anything that needs to move through the blocked passageway cannot. Depending on where the obstruction is located, the patient can suffer various complications like tissue death from a lack of blood being delivered to the tissue.

You Can Die

If you do not receive prompt, proper treatment to remove the retained foreign object and appropriate follow up care like antibiotics to fight any potential infection, you can die as a result of surgical equipment being left inside your body. Death can come from the internal bleeding caused by a cut, blockages from an obstruction, or from an infection. This is why comprehensive follow up care is a necessary part of any surgery – your recovery is not finished when the surgery is complete.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered an injury because of a retained foreign object after surgery, you have the right to seek compensation for your related damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about this process, contact our team of experienced medical malpractice lawyers at Baizer Kolar, P.C. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.