Sometimes when surgeons close a patient after surgery, they inadvertently leave foreign objects inside the patient. These foreign objects may include pins, medical instruments, blades, clips, gauze, or cotton. The objects left behind may damage blood vessels, organs, and tissue or trigger a fatal infection. This serious problem happens too often as a result of negligence by a doctor or nurse. Patients should never be forced to suffer the accompanying pain, risk of death, and required additional surgery that must take place when surgical items are left inside their bodies from a previous surgery or procedure. This event is considered one of 28 identified "never events," meaning that it is a shocking error that should never occur. If you were harmed by a foreign object left in your body, the Ocala medical malpractice attorneys at the Dean Law Firm can help you seek compensation.Establishing Liability for Foreign Objects
In Florida, a plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that a health care provider's actions were a breach of the professional standard of care. The standard of care may vary but generally requires the level of care, skill, and treatment that is recognized as acceptable by prudent providers in the medical community of the defendant’s specialty. However, the standard of care in a foreign objects case is more straightforward than in other types of medical malpractice cases.
In general, simply having a medical injury does not create a presumption of negligence on the part of a doctor or nurse, and the plaintiff still needs to prove that an injury was legally caused by a health care provider's breach of the prevailing professional standard. Under Florida law, however, the discovery of a foreign object that is commonly used in surgeries, examinations, or diagnostic procedures is prima facie proof of a health care provider's negligence. In Florida, every licensed medical facility is supposed to use a patient safety plan. Many hospitals require their staff to count sponges and instruments both when instruments are being set up and right before surgery begins.
Under Florida Statute section 95.11, you have two years from the date that a foreign object was left in your body, from the date of your discovery that it was left in your body, or from the date on which you should have discovered that it was left in your body to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, you may not bring a lawsuit more than four years from the date of your injury unless fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or concealment was the reason that you could not discover the injury within the four-year period. There is an exception to the four-year rule for children, providing that the rule will not bar an action brought on behalf of a child before their eighth birthday.Consult an Ocala Attorney for a Medical Malpractice Claim
At the Dean Law Firm, we provide legal representation to patients who have been injured due to the negligent or wrongful acts of health care professionals. You have just one chance to recover damages if you have been hurt by someone else. Our Ocala medical malpractice lawyers understand how crucial the outcome of your lawsuit is. If you were injured because a surgeon left a foreign object in your body, our surgical error attorneys can negotiate on your behalf to seek compensation or take your case to trial as appropriate. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment. We also represent medical malpractice victims in Ocala, Crystal River, The Villages, and other areas of Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.