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Pennsylvania woman awarded settlement in medical malpractice suit

When a doctor or nurse is negligent during surgery, the patient can experience a number of different medical complications as a result. When that happens, the patient may at first have difficulty determining whether the pain is because of an error or just a byproduct of the original medical condition.

But in some instances, it is clear that someone on staff at the hospital made a mistake. As a result, the patient may have to undergo additional surgical procedures. Even worse, the patient may have to deal with an illness or injury for the rest of their life that would not have developed but for the nurse or doctor's negligence. If this is the case, patients can file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent party.

Just recently, a Pennsylvania woman was awarded a large settlement after a jury found that two nurses had been negligent during a c-section that occurred in 2004. Apparently, two nurses who had been in charge of the required sponge count did not follow procedure and complete all three counts of the sponges.

It appears that no one was aware that a sponge had been left inside the woman's abdomen. She returned home and experienced some pain, but thought it was due to the post-surgery recovery process. However two months after the surgery, she was still experiencing severe pain.

When she went in to the hospital, a CT scan showed that a lap sponge had been left in her abdomen from the c-section. By this time, a serious infection due to the sponge had caused the sponge to attach to part of her bowel. Surgeons had to remove part of her bowel in order to also remove the sponge.

The settlement that she was awarded should help her with many of the medical expenses that have resulted from the additional surgery and procedures. The woman may also file another lawsuit to compensate her for the interest that has accrued since the lawsuit was originally filed nearly seven years ago.

Source: Philly Burbs: "Woman awarded $500k after nurses left sponge in her abdomen," Jo Ciavaglia and Laurie Mason Schroeder, July 21, 2011.

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