Medical Error Leaves Judge with Surgical Sponge in Body

Our Baltimore medication error injury blog recently reported that according to the Institute of Medicine, 1.5 million medication error injuries occur every year around the country that are preventable, and as many as 98,000 deaths due to medical errors.

When Nelson Bailey decided to have elective surgery for diverticulitis, a condition causing him abdominal discomfort, he was told that he would be out of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in around four days. What Bailey didn’t expect, according to a recent article in the Sun Sentinel, was that he would suffer from two different and equally serious medical errors at the hospital that would change his live completely.

Bailey, a Palm Beach County judge, underwent the intestinal surgery in October 2009, where the surgeon made a medical error by mistakenly leaving a surgical sponge inside Bailey’s body—that was reportedly as big as a washcloth, and was left to fester for five months.

When Bailey was recovering from surgery he then experienced a hospital pharmacy error, after the pharmacy prepared the incorrect medication. The doctor had reportedly ordered blood pressure lowering medication, but when the wrong medication was sent from the pharmacy, the nurse gave him the drug without double checking the drug label.

After surviving the surgery and the medication error with no seemingly long-term side effects, Bailey assumed he was moving toward recovery—but the intestinal pain continued to escalate, to such a degree that the pain was worse than even before surgery.

It wasn’t until March 2010 that several CT scans and X-rays detected that due to medical error, a sponge has been left inside Bailey’s body during the surgery. Bailey went to a different clinic to perform the sponge removal surgery, where a portion of his intestines that had been punctured by the presence of the sponge also had to be removed.

Bailey sued both the surgeon who made the medical error, and the radiologists who failed to detect the sponge in the scans. Good Samaritan reportedly settled the medical error injury lawsuit with Bailey for around $650,000.

After the lawsuit, the hospital reportedly introduced new prevention technology to keep this kind of medical error from happening in the future, and to ensure that no surgical equipment can be left behind in a patient’s body.

Contact our Maryland medication error lawyers today at Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC.

Medical error causes judge more pain—and more surgery, Sun Sentinel, July 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Related Blog Posts:

New Palm-Vein Scanning Technology Introduced to Reduce Medical Errors in Hospitals, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 22, 2011
Benefits of Robo Pharmacy Technology in Reducing Prescription Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2011
Maryland Hospitals Decrease Medication Error with New Technology, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2010
Study Finds Maryland Hospitals Improve Safety and Health Standards, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, November 17, 2010
Study Shows Barcode eMAR Technology Can Help Reduce Medication Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, November 3, 2010
Medication Error Reduced By “Scanning” Patients for Electronic Records, October 28, 2010

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