Surgical Mistakes in Albany Hospitals Highlighted in NHQC Report

Surgical mistakes – known as “never events” – are on the rise, according to data collected by the Niagara Health Quality Coalition (NHQC). The most recent study released by the organization found that in 2009, there were 95 incidents of tools being left behind in patients during surgery – such as sponges, needles and surgical wires. This amount is up from 2008’s data, which indicated that there were 84 of these types of never events in U.S. hospitals.

The NHQC reports that there were several cases of foreign objects being left behind in patients of Albany-area hospitals. For example:

  • At Albany Medical Center Hospital, surgical wires were left inside of one patient who received a Caesarean section and another who was having a dialysis catheter placed. In addition, a patient had a piece of plastic sheeting left in their throat during a vocal cord procedure, and another patient had a surgical clip left behind during surgery.
  • At St. Peter’s Hospital, a surgical sponge was left inside of a patient receiving a gynecological procedure.
  • At Ellis Hospital, a patient undergoing laparoscopic surgery had tubing left behind during the procedure.

In response to these never events, the NHQC has launched the “No Thing Left Behind” initiative to help prevent¬†medical malpractice¬†and educate health care professionals on ways to prevent leaving surgical tools inside of patients. Among the tips the organization suggests are using a hanging surgical sponge holder and documenting the instruments in an operating room before and during a procedure.

In many cases, objects are found before they cause serious harm to a patient. Oftentimes, however, this is not the case. If you have been injured by a surgical instrument that was left inside of your body during surgery, contact a qualified personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you receive damages from the health care facility that made the mistake.