Doctors Liable for Foot-Long Sponge Left in Patient After Surgery

Karlene Chambers, of Pembroke Pines, Florida had a considerable surprise after her C-Section: the doctor had left a foot-long sponge in her body. It is one of the most common examples of surgical malpractice is leaving sponges in the bodies of patients. This practice should go longer occur since doctors began to use sponge boards and sponge counts to confirm that all sponges used in surgery have been retrieved. A jury awarded Cambers, a first-grade teacher, over $2.4 million. She was left permanently disabled from the malpractice. The sponge was discovered only after she complained of several abdominal pain. An infection caused serious damage to abdomen and uterus and left her unable to have children. A second surgery removed the sponge.

This is actually not the record. One of the cases that led to the infamous Feres Doctrine (barring military personnel from suing the government for malpractice and other forms of negligence) involved a 30-inch towel left in the stomach of a patient by a military doctor. The towel read that it was the property of the U.S. Army. Unlike Chambers, however, the soldier was barred from suing. For the full story and x-ray picture, click here

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