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Hospital negligence case goes to trial after woman's death

According to a civil lawsuit in another state, a woman met an untimely death a little over a year after she had surgery. A physician allegedly left a sponge inside of her body which resulted in even more complications. Tragically, this is not the only deadly event and many hospital negligence episodes have led to the death of Illinois patients. A wrongful death claim was filed against the doctor and the case recently went to trial.

In 2009, the woman underwent a long surgery in which a sponge was left inside of her. The sponge was inside of her body for seven months and when the medical team tried to remove it, they were unsuccessful on two occasions. The woman experienced a number of complications and eventually, she died. However, in spite of the incident, the medical team has refused liability and denied that the sponge being left inside resulted in her death.

Reportedly, during the surgery, there was a shift change and medical staff was informed that the sponge count was inaccurate. An X-ray was performed, but the lawsuit claims that medical staff did not look at the results which showed that not just one, but two sponges were still in the woman’s abdomen. This apparently resulted in only one being removed and the second being left. The jury reviewed a report from radiology which proved that the two ribbon-like items were consistent with sponges.

Medical staff members have the duty to ensure that patients are given appropriate standards of care. This is especially true when a surgery is being performed and any items left behind can result in tragedies such as this one. The jury may find in favor of the plaintiff if evidence deems the doctor along with the medical staff were negligent in a way that caused or contributed to the woman’s death. Illinois families who experienced a loss due to hospital negligence may wish to pursue medical malpractice claims against the medical facility and/or medical team members.

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

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