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Woman sues hospital after surgical sponge left in abdomen

New York residents may be interested in a medical malpractice suit recently filed by a California woman who discovered that years of painful symptoms were caused by a sponge left in her abdomen from a 2007 surgery. She is suing Simi Valley Hospital in Ventura County and the doctors and radiologist involved in previous check-ups for undisclosed damages.

The woman experienced several painful symptoms over the span of four years that included chronic thirst, nausea, blurred vision and vaginal bleeding. It took several visits before it was discovered that a surgical sponge had been left inside the woman from a 2007 hysterectomy surgery. According to the suit, the woman first returned complaining about pain just three days after that operation. Hospital staff took X-rays and told her she was suffering severe constipation. The plaintiff visited the facility by ambulance approximately a year later after she fainted at work.

Simi Valley Hospital staff told her she had a gastrointestinal issue and advised her to avoid eating spicy food. She began suffering from bleeding in 2011, and her ovaries were removed because her gynecologist suspected ovarian cysts were the cause. However, they detected a mass that turned out to be a remnant of the sponge forgotten inside the patient's body four years earlier, and a significant portion of her intestines was removed because the sponge was embedded in scar tissue.

The state's Department of Public Heath fined the hospital $25,000 during 2012 for the mistake. The same hospital was fined $80,000 later that year for a surgical clamp that was left in another patient. An attorney may be able to help individuals in similar situations recover restitution to account for all of the damages caused by surgical errors.

Source: New York Daily News, "California woman sues hospital after forgotten surgical sponge forces removal of intestines ", Deborah Hastings, June 18, 2014

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