The term “retained foreign bodies” (RFBs) is the medical way of describing items left behind unintentionally when a patient undergoes surgery. Surgical staff typically need to account for every item used during surgery, including gauze and clamps. RFBs could cause both physical trauma inside someone’s body and also severe infection.
Despite safety procedures, some patients will need to undergo corrective surgery because the providers in charge of their care made the mistake of leaving an item in their body after finishing a procedure. How common is it for surgeons to leave something behind in someone’s body?
Surgeons leave items behind dozens of times a week
People refer to RFBs as a type of “never event.” This is a surgical mistake so extreme that it should never occur when surgeons and their support staff adhere to best practices. Unfortunately, statistics show that roughly 1,500 patients every year in the United States end up harmed because they have an item left behind inside them after surgery.
That amounts to between 0.3 and 1.0 out of every thousand surgeries performed in the country. While it is relatively uncommon overall, it still occurs far more frequently than it should. Surgical mistakes often lead to lengthier and more expensive recovery for the patients involved.
Those who have been affected by a major mistake during a medical procedure, such as a surgeon leaving something in their body, may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can help you seek compensation for medical trauma, for any additional care costs and lost wages. It’s important to have experienced legal guidance.