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Woman dies after doctor leaves a sponge in her abdomen

The prospect of surgery is a distressing one for many people. The prospect of being anesthetized and operated upon can be daunting. However, the diligence and professionalism of many doctors should be enough to put their patients' minds at ease. Unfortunately, this is not the case with all doctors and many patients in Maryland are subjected to surgical errors which can dramatically affect their quality of life.

For one woman in Ohio, the effect was fatal. The 58-year-old woman died 15 months after the 17-hour surgery that resulted in a sponge being left inside her body. Her husband has filed a lawsuit against Wright State Physicians and the doctor who performed the surgery, along with several nurses, scrub technicians and other personnel.

The length of the procedure meant that there were several staff changes. At its conclusion, the surgeon was informed that the sponge count was incorrect. He ordered an X-ray and removed one sponge, but was then allegedly informed that all the sponges were accounted for. According to an attorney for the victim's husband, the surgeon did not examine the X-ray until weeks later.

When he did, he noticed evidence of another sponge inside the woman. He made two attempts to remove it, but failed both times, injuring the woman's spleen in the process. It was fall of 2009 before the sponge was finally removed, after the patient had been referred to a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. Despite the length of time the sponge remained inside the woman, an attorney for the defense claims it was not responsible for her death.

Whatever the outcome of this dispute, the fact remains that this surgical error could and should have been avoided. If you are harmed as a result of medical negligence in Maryland, or anywhere in the U.S. you may want to challenge those responsible and seek justice for the harm they caused you. An attorney may be able to support you in this and can help you pursue compensation for your injuries.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "Sponge left in woman’s body leads to medical malpractice suit," Mark Gokavi, July 14, 2014

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