Can you tell me how much compensation for a sponge left inside a patient after an operation can be claimed?
There are a number of criteria which must be met in order for you to be entitled to claim compensation for a sponge left inside a patient after an operation. Although it is a clear case of medical negligence* and a retained foreign object after an operation represents a serious failure in a duty of care, it is not always possible to claim for a retained surgical sponge – known to the medical profession as gossypiboma. Your entitlement to claim compensation for gossypiboma must therefore be established before compensation amounts will be calculated. For an accurate assessment of compensation amounts and to receive confirmation that you are entitled to claim for the failure to remove a surgical sponge during an operation, you will need to consult a personal injury* solicitor.
You will only be entitled to claim compensation for gossypiboma if you have sustained an injury as a result of the retained surgical sponge. Being required to undergo a second surgical procedure to remove the sponge could be classed as an injury by itself, although whether it will be worth your while making a claim purely on this basis will depend on how the procedure has affected you mentally and physically.
Gossypibomas can be hard to identify if they have not been tagged with a radiopaque material, as they are unlikely to show up on an x-ray and they must therefore be identified with other imaging tests such as CT scans. Because of this, retained surgical objects may go some time before they are detected, leading to considerable suffering by the patient. Even when detected they can be misdiagnosed as potential tumours, which in itself can cause psychological problems to develop.
If you have contracted an infection as a result of the sponge, have suffered rectal bleeding, persistent diarrhoea or abdominal pain, you will be entitled to compensation as recompense for your suffering. The amount of compensation for a sponge left inside a patient after an operation that can be recovered will depend on the duration and severity of your symptoms, the time it took for the surgical sponge to be identified and removed and any financial costs you have incurred as a result of the surgical error. A claim for a retained surgical sponge can also include compensation for mental health problems suffered, such as depression and anxiety due to persistence of undiagnosed symptoms or even being told about a potential tumour.
Because many factors can affect the amount of compensation for a failure to remove a surgical sponge during an operation that can be claimed, it is important that a thorough medical examination is performed and your medical history is reviewed by a solicitor. Only when all aspects of your injuries have been medically established – and the repercussions have been determined – will be possible to accurately calculate compensation amounts in your claim for a retained surgical sponge.