Plastic Surgery Expert Opines on Foreign Object Retained After Surgery

Joseph O'Neill

Written by
— Updated on September 6, 2017

Plastic Surgery Expert WitnessThis case involves a male patient in Louisiana who suffered multiple complications following plastic surgery. On the date of the incident in question, the patient underwent multiple plastic surgeries, including procedures on both his face and body. At some point during the surgery, a sponge was erroneously left inside of the patient’s abdomen. Over the course of several months, the patient suffered severe pain in his chest when breathing. Eventually, another physician ordered diagnostic studies that revealed the foreign object in his chest cavity. The sponge was eventually removed via a complex surgery.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What percentage of your practice is dedicated to plastic surgery?
  • 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case?
  • 3. How do you ensure that a foreign object is not left in the patient?

Expert Witness Response E-005420

One hundred percent of my practice is devoted to plastic surgery. I have not has a patient have an outcome like the one described. Every case should have an instrument and sponge count to be assured that there are not retained foreign bodies. If there is any doubt, an x-ray can be obtained. I am surprised that this even occurred with all of the protocols that OR’s are supposed to follow to prevent incidents like this. This represents a serious breach in protocol. I also wonder if all of this surgery was performed in an out-patient setting or in a hospital. It seems as though all this surgery would have taken a significant amount of time. There is a recognized standard of care that surgery longer than 4 hours should not be performed as out-patient procedures.

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