Foreign Objects And New York Law

Laws, Surgery

Patients are vulnerable when they undergo surgery.  They have placed their trust in their surgeon to provide them with a basic standard of care during the operation.  A patient will want to feel confident that they will attend to every detail before, during, and after the surgery.  This includes ensuring that the surgeon will not leave any surgical instruments inside the patient’s body.

When foreign objects are left inside the body there can be long term effects.  These foreign objects may cause deadly damage over time.  A patient may not feel any immediate effect of a surgical sponge, clamp, or broken needle left inside the body, however over time the patient may begin to feel discomfort and pain set in.

Once the patient begins to feel discomfort and/or pain, he or she may go to the hospital to discover what is wrong.  The object can then be revealed in an X-ray, MRI or other test.  Once the foreign object has been discovered, it is important that the patient receive immediate medical attention.

There can be some cases where a foreign object will not be discovered until after the two and a half year statute of limitations has run.  There however is an alternative statute of limitations for these cases.  Under this alternative rule the statute of limitations can be for a one year period and does not begin to run until the day the object was discover or the facts would have reasonably lead to the discovery of the foreign object.

In foreign object cases, a significant amount of research may be required to in order to evaluate whether the object was left inside the patient negligently or was placed there intentionally permanently.  There are times when the body may reject an item that was placed in the patient intentionally, potentially resulting in a dangerous abscess or infection.

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