Thursday, January 18, 2018
Leaving a scalpel in a patient is a common fact pattern for res ipsa loquitur, and it is in the news. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, wrote several letters to VA leaders on Tuesday demanding answers for "allegations of appalling medical malpractice." One memorable case included a surgeon who allegedly admitted leaving a 5-inch scalpel in a patient's abdomen, where it remained for approximately 4 years. The Hartford Courant has the story, and reports:
A study of 100 health care organizations from 2011-12 found 428 incidents of items mistakenly left inside patients, including 128 sponges, 43 needles, 171 instrument fragments, 77 whole instruments and 9 towels.