Medical Malpractice for a Retained Object

June 2024

A retained object refers to any item that is unintentionally left inside a patient's body after the performance of a surgical procedure.   Common items that are left behind include sponges, needles or fragments of instruments.  

The leaving of a retained object by medical professionals is a deviation from the standard of care.  A medical professional is expected to account for all of items used in a surgery and make sure that none are left behind in the patient.

A retained object can cause serious harm to a patient.  Some common harm that occurs from a retained object includes pain, infection, internal injuries and even death if left untreated.

In some cases, if the retained object is not discovered immediately the statute of limitations can be extended.  This is called the disovery rule for medical malpractice.  The rule is complicated and you should consult with an attorney to discuss the discovery of a retained object.

A retained object is considered a "never event" and often forms the basis of a medical malpractice claim.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to medical negligence, take the time to talk to an experienced attorney.  At HerrIck & Hart, we have been on the side of the injured for over 70 years.