Claim for a Foreign Object Left in a Patient after an Operation

Whereas it is understandable to expect a compensation claim for a foreign object left behind in a patient after an operation to be straightforward, this is not necessarily the case. In order to claim compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab, the “foreign object” must have caused a loss, an injury, or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition.

If there has been no “adverse event” due to a surgeon´s negligence, it will not be possible to claim for a foreign object left in a patient after an operation. Therefore, to establish whether you are eligible to claim compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab, it is recommended that you call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau and discuss the event and its consequences with one of our experienced medical negligence solicitors.

Making a Claim for a Foreign Object Left in a Patient after an Operation

Under the guidelines issued by the NHS National Patient Safety Agency, at the end of an operation all instruments, sponges and swabs should be accounted for before anybody leaves the operating theatre. Consequently, if any item has been left inside you after an operation, there can be no defence against a claim for a foreign object left in a patient after an operation.

What is important is that you have suffered some form of adverse event – either a loss, an injury, or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition. To establish that this is the case, your solicitor will request access to your medical records, which will then be reviewed by an independent medical expert. It may also be necessary for you to undergo a medical examination to ascertain the extent of your injury.

Once negligence and injury are established, your solicitor will send a “Letter of Claim” to the NHS Trust with a duty of care for your treatment. The NHS Trust has ninety days to conduct its own investigation to establish how the error occurred before having no option but to admit liability for your injury. Your solicitor will then meet with the NHS Litigation Authority to negotiate a settlement of compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab.

How Much Compensation for a Retained Surgical Instrument?

How much compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab you will be entitled to will be primarily based on the nature of your injury, and the pain and suffering your surgeon´s negligence has caused. The settlement of this element of your claim will correspond with figures quoted in the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for general damages in personal injury cases.

You are also entitled to include in your claim for a foreign object left behind in a patient after an operation any deterioration in your quality of life you have experienced, or may experience in the future if further surgery is required to repair an injury caused by the retained foreign object. The recovery of related costs and any loss of income is also included in a settlement of compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab.

Most experts agree that physical trauma is often connected to emotional trauma. If you have suffered any degree of diagnosed psychological injury due to a foreign object being left inside of you – for example, you may have developed a fear of hospitals, which will make revision surgery that more difficult to cope with – this element can also be included in a compensation claim for a foreign object left behind in a patient after an operation.

Further Information about Surgical Errors due to Medical Negligence

With so many variable elements involved in the settlement of a compensation claim for a foreign object left behind in a patient after an operation, it is easy to see why no two claims for compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab are the same. For this reason it is recommended that you contact our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau and discuss your specific situation with a medical negligence solicitor.

Our solicitor will be able to answer any legal questions you may have about claiming compensation for a retained surgical instrument, sponge or swab, and explain your options to you in clear English. Naturally, all calls to our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau are private and – by using our advice service – you are under no obligation to proceed with a compensation claim for a foreign object left in a patient after an operation.