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Retained surgical items: Tips for victims

RSIs, or retained surgical items, can lead to serious injury. A new study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons is calling for medical professionals to use new technology to reduce the risk of injury to patients.

A new study published by the prestigious medical periodical Journal of the American College of Surgeons is calling for a change in the operating room. The study highlights the risks of RSIs, or retained surgical items, after a procedure and is urging physicians and medical professionals to implement new technology to reduce the risk of injury to patients. According to the researchers, the cost of additional medical care and the adverse outcomes suffered by patients because of these surgical errors are substantial and can include pain, suffering and readmission in 30 to 59 percent of cases and reoperation for removal in 69 to 83 percent of cases. These negative results can be significantly reduced with the use of RF technology.

Researchers call for use of new technology to reduce risk of RSIs

The study, Retained Surgical Sponges: Findings from Incident Reports and a Cost-Benefit Analysis of Radiofrequency Technology, noted that emergent surgical procedures, a high body mass index and unexpected changes in the procedure all contributed to a higher rate of RSIs. Furthermore, the most commonly left behind item was a standard surgical sponge. Sponges are particularly dangerous since they can foster bacteria and lead to development of dangerous infections after the procedure are complete.

Ultimately, the authors of the study call for implementation of RF technology. RF, or radiofrequency, is used by inserting a small chip within all sponges used during the procedure. After the procedure is complete a medical professional can waive a wand over the operating area to see if any sponges were left behind. Use of this technology led to a 93 percent reduction in RSIs.

Medical malpractice and surgical errors in Indiana

Patients who suffer from injury after an RSI likely have a medical malpractice claim. This claim can help the victim cover the cost of additional medical care and rehabilitation. In order to move forward with a case, certain state laws must be considered.

For example, Indiana state law generally applies a two-year statute of limitations. This means that anyone injured by a surgical error like an RSI must file suit within two years of the alleged act. There are some circumstances when the courts allow a victim to file a suit after this time limit has expired. These cases often require the patient to establish that he or she was unable to reasonably discover the malpractice within the two-year time limitation. Additional exceptions are allowed for minors under the age of six.

Legal counsel can help

Indiana state law has strict limitations and rules on medical malpractice claims. As a result, those who are injured are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced surgical error attorney. Your attorney will review the details of your case and work to advocate for your rights, better ensuring a more favorable outcome.

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