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Hospital faces hefty fines in near-fatal surgical error

Arizona residents undergoing medical procedures may be alarmed to learn how careless some surgeons or surgical staff can be, especially when they accidentally leave a piece of surgical equipment inside a patient. In fact, a California hospital has been fined approximately $86,000 for such carelessness.

According to the state's Department of Public Health, a patient underwent a surgery in April 2014 at the Community Regional Medical Center near Fresno. Several weeks following the operation, the patient experienced bowel troubles, rapid weight loss, and a lack of energy and stamina. The patient also stated that he felt like he was going to die.

The patient returned to his physician who told him he might have an abdominal mass developing in his body and that he needed additional surgery. When the second surgery took place, doctors found that the mass was actually a blue towel stuck behind the man's stomach. Although x-ray images were previously taken, items like towels are usually not revealed.

The towel was mistakenly left in the patient because hospital surgeons were keeping track of the medical instruments employed in the surgery but not the towels. Since the incident, the hospital has implemented new procedures during and after surgeries in an effort to lessen the chances for these types of accidents reoccurring.

Hospitals are places where patients should experience high-quality medical treatment from skilled physicians, surgeons and other health care personnel. However, when a patient is harmed by negligent operating room staff members who are employed by the hospital, a medical malpractice attorney may be of assistance in seeking compensation from the health care facility itself.

Source: Inquisitr, "California hospital fined after surgeon accidentally leaves towel inside patient", Cindy Jovanoski, Feb. 1, 2016

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