Doctors Discharge Patient with Sponge in Abdomen; Harrell & Nowak, LLC Settle Case

(, August 15, 2012 ) New Orleans, Louisiana -- A Louisiana man recently received a six figure settlement from a hospital after doctors released him with a surgical sponge left in his abdomen following surgery--even after an X-ray taken while he was still in the hospital showed that it was inside him.

During the abdominal operation, the surgeons used surgical sponges in his abdominal cavity. The sponge, called a laparotomy pad, contains a radiopaque strip that appears on X-rays. The operating room nurses generally count the sponges after surgery to make sure they have all been removed. But medical records show that the sponge appeared on an X-ray taken after the surgery. And, even more startling, is that the doctors knew about the sponge, but they still released the man without telling him about it. It was only after an X-ray taken at another hospital showed that the sponge was still there, that it was finally removed. Because of the sponge, a foreign body, this patient developed a serious abdominal infection. The patient sued the hospital for medical malpractice because of the retained sponge and the infection that it created. The hospital and doctors settled the medical malpractice case rather than go to trial.

“As patients, we are entitled to receive safe care, even if it’s not the best care,” said New Orleans injury attorney Shirin Harrell, partner at Harrell & Nowak, LLC. “Leaving in a sponge after surgery, is careless. But when the sponge is left in, shows up on an X-ray and is still not removed prior to discharge, that is poor care and unsafe safe. It is unfortunate that we still see retained sponges and wrong-site surgery in our health care system. Even the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid recognize that this type of event should not occur as retained foreign body is listed among its list of “never events,” meaning it should never happen.”

In addition to working medical malpractice and other personal injury lawsuits, Shirin Harrell is a registered nurse. She is also a member of the Louisiana Bar Association, New Orleans Bar Association, Louisiana Association for Justice, American Bar Association and Federal Bar Associations. Her injury firm, Harrell & Nowak, LLC, has a 90 percent success rate in obtaining favorable verdicts and settlements for its clients.

For more information, contact Shirin Harrell at (504) 522-7885, or submit a contact form at

Harrell & Nowak, LLC
Cheney Winslow

Source: EmailWire.Com
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