Did your surgeon leave you with a 'surgical souvenir'? | Houck | Reynolds, LLC
Houck | Reynolds, LLC

Did your surgeon leave you with a 'surgical souvenir'?

If you visit "La Tour Eiffel" in Paris, you might come home with a nifty key chain, or a miniature brass replica of the iconic tower to put on the desk of your office. Most holiday vacationers want to come back from their amazing travel experience with a souvenir.

The story is quite different, however, if you're getting a surgery. The term "surgical souvenir" is the way many surgeons refer to items that they accidentally sewed up inside you while you were on the operating table, but having a "souvenir" of your surgery is the last thing anybody wants to go home with.

What kinds of "souvenirs" do patients bring home?

Surgical souvenirs can literally be anything that was around you -- or in you -- during your operation. In a lot of cases, the souvenir might be a small sponge, or a piece of a sponge that was used during your operation and accidentally left inside you. Or, it could be a much larger item, like a surgical clamp, a screw or a piece of a medical device.

Depending on the size and type of the item left inside you, and depending on your body's immunological response to that item, you may or may not ever know it's there. Usually, it's not until the body reacts to the foreign object that a patient will discover that he or she has a surgical souvenir. Even in the fact of a strong reaction though, it could take some time for your surgeon to realize what went wrong.

Surprising 13-inch example of a surgical souvenir

Perhaps one of the biggest surgical souvenir cases happened in the northwest United States in June 2000. A patient had a surgery to remove a tumor, but his doctor left a 13-inch long retractor inside his abdomen.

Fortunately, the giant object was discovered quickly following the surgery. Surgeons successfully removed it with no serious health consequences to the patient. After admitting to the error, the hospital paid the patient $97,000 in compensation.

Did you go home with a surgical souvenir?

If you suspect you may have a surgical souvenir, it's important to get medical help as soon as possible. You may also have a viable medical negligence claim to seek financial compensation in Georgia civil court. By speaking with a medical negligence lawyer, you can assess your legal rights and determine your most appropriate next steps for seeking the compensation you deserve.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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