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Woman sues hospital over surgical sponge

New York residents may have heard about a medical malpractice case that originated when a surgeon performed a hysterectomy on a woman at a hospital in Southern California in 2007. After experiencing problems shortly thereafter, she returned to the hospital, where her symptoms were dismissed as severe constipation. This was the first of several visits to the hospital over the next few years.

The woman's symptoms worsened over the next few years to include fainting, blurred vision, nausea and abdominal pain. When the woman went into the doctor for vaginal bleeding, her gynecologist diagnosed her with an ovarian cyst and removed both of her ovaries. At this time, they found an internal mass. Upon further testing, they determined the mass to be an old surgical sponge that had been left inside of the woman during her hysterectomy surgery. The sponge was encased with scar tissue and had to be surgically removed along with half of her intestines. She has taken out a lawsuit against the hospital and medical personnel who cared for her.

The hospital has been fined by the California Department of Public Health for $25,000 for the negligence of the surgeon. A few months later, they were issued another fine for $80,000 for forgetting to remove an 8-inch clamp from a patient. The hospital stated they accept responsibility for the mistake and have taken action to ensure patients' safety.

In a case such as this, an attorney could be of help to a victim who was harmed by surgical malpractice. An attorney could work to build a case against to prove that the injury was caused by negligence. The patient may be able to recover damages as a result.

Source: New York Daily News, "California woman sues hospital after forgotten surgical sponge forces removal of intestines ", Deborah Hastings, June 18, 2014

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