In 2013, USA Today published a startling statistic: Twelve times every single day, surgeons sew up a patient with surgical sponges and other supplies mistakenly still inside. In some cases, patients become very ill as a result. Some do not survive.
But discovering the exact source of internal pain (usually abdominal) is often a process. Although in some cases, these “retained surgical items” include clamps, forceps or other hardware, they are most often the gauzy sponges doctors use during surgery. The incidents are referred to in the medical community as “never events,” as they are simply never supposed to happen.
And yet, it’s an ongoing problem. Consider the recent Connecticut Supreme Court case of Cefaratti v. Aranow. Central to this case was the question of the statute of limitations and whether the “continuing course of treatment” extended the timeline plaintiff had to file her claim. Continue reading ›