Medical professionals are highly trained and must undertake years of schooling and training before they are fully equipped to practice medicine. But like any profession, there is a great deal of room for human error in practicing medicine, especially in surgical procedures. The consequences of an error during surgery can be very detrimental to the quality of life of a patient. Mishandling surgical instruments during an operation is a frightening thought both for the innocent patient affected by this mistake. But unfortunately, it does occur in certain situations.
One of the more common incidents of the misuse of surgical instruments can go unnoticed until the end of a procedure. What is referred to in many malpractice cases as retention of material is the enclosure of surgical supplies inside of a patient after the procedure has been completed. This occurs most often with sponges used to create a better surgical environment. These sponges should be attached to a tether so that they can be easily removed and accounted for, but in some situations these sponges are not properly prepared. This mishandling of instruments can have serious effects on a patient. Patients have developed serious infections and experienced unnecessary pain after surgery because of this medical misuse.
Although sponges are most commonly retained, this is not the only type of misuse of materials that occurs in operating rooms. Like any other occupation that evolves implements, there is always a risk of misuse involved. Fortunately, high standards in the medical field for proper training and attention to detail prevent the majority of instrument mishandling.