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Woman sues hospital for retained surgical sponge

Chicago residents may be interested in a high-profile medical malpractice lawsuit. A California woman filed suit against Simi Valley Hospital where surgeons had allegedly left a surgical sponge inside of her during a 2007 hysterectomy. The woman said she experienced nausea, persistent thirst, vaginal bleeding, blurry vision and abdominal pain as a result of her doctors' negligence.

The woman was admitted to Simi Valley Hospital in 2007 for a routine hysterectomy and bladder support operation. She said that she began experiencing severe pain soon after her operation and revisited the hospital within three days of the procedure. After an X-ray, doctors supposedly told her that she was severely constipated and did not seem concerned about her symptoms. She revisited the hospital in 2009 after nearly fainting at work. Doctors allegedly insisted that her blurry vision, perspiration and nausea were the result of gastrointestinal issues and recommended she stop eating spicy foods.

The retained surgical instrument was not diagnosed until 2011. Surgeons were removing the woman's ovaries in response to vaginal bleeding that caused the doctors to suspect she had ovarian cysts. The sponge had become encased in scar tissue, forcing doctors to remove 50 percent of the woman's intestines.

The woman reportedly seeks compensation from Simi Valley Hospital, her doctors and her radiologists. Her attorney said that the surgical team did not count the sponges used in the procedure and that although the metal in the sponge showed up in scans, radiologists took no action.

Patients trust that surgical teams will be diligent during surgery and ensure that all surgical objects are removed. Retained objects can cause a variety of issues including persistent pain and bleeding. Personal injury attorneys may be able to help victims of medical malpractice seek compensation from hospitals and doctors.

Source: New York Daily News, "California woman sues hospital after forgotten surgical sponge forces removal of intestines ", Deborah Hastings, June 18, 2014

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