Mazow/McCullough, PC Obtain Settlement For Young Woman Due to a Retained Foreign Object Left After Surgery
On May 4, 2004, the plaintiff, age 18 at the time, underwent an elective laparoscopy and lysis of adhesions at a hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The procedure began as a diagnostic laparascopy and during surgery was converted to a laparatomy. Two nurses allegedly made the initial sponge count, and a different nursing team allegedly made the first and second close count. The surgeon was allegedly notified that the sponge count was correct. Over the next several months, the plaintiff developed complications. She had frequent night sweats, abdominal pain, consistent fever and weight loss of around ten pounds. In early 2006, she developed a lump in her groin. Nearly one year after the surgery a CT scan revealed a collection in the mid-lower abdomen consistent with an abscess and a foreign body consistent with a surgical sponge. Surgery was ordered immediately and she was admitted to the hospital and operated on that same day. During the surgery, a laparotomy pad/surgical sponge was found soaked with a bilious colored greenish material and removed. Cultures taken of the laparotomy pad revealed infections of klebsiella, oxytocin, enterococcus faecalis, enterococcus faecium and bacteriodes ovatus. The abscess was irrigated which revealed two cavities. Large soft sump drains were placed in the abscess cavities and passed through separate stab wounds in the abdominal wall. An attempt was made to protect the adjacent small bowel by passing the tube through a portion of omentum and tucking the omentum into the abscess cavity so that there would be no contact between the small bowel and the sump drains.
Postoperatively, the plaintiff remained at the hospital until April 19, 2005 when a repeat CT scan of the abdomen was conducted to assure that no further abscess remained and that there was no evidence of small bowel leak. On April 20, 2005, the drains began producing copious amounts of small bowel contents which indicated an abnormal opening in the intestine in communication with the drain and the skin. Due to the high output, a second surgery was recommended. At this point, the plaintiff requested a second opinion and asked to be transferred to the Massachusetts General Hospital. The plaintiff was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on April 23, 2005 and ultimately required another surgery. The surgery consisted of an extensive lysis of adhesions, small bowel resection and repair of enterotomy. She also had an appendectomy because the appendix contained a fecolith which was thought to potentially dispose her to appendicitis in the future. Furthermore, she had 15 cm of small bowel removed. She remained at Massachusetts General Hospital until June 15, 2005 when she was discharged.
A lawsuit was filed against the hospital, the three nurses involved in the sponge count and the original surgeon. The nurses all denied that they made an error in the sponge count. However, during discovery, Mazow/McCullough obtained a copy of the Operating Room Nurse’s Notes which revealed that a team of different nurses participated in the initial sponge count and the final sponge count. This was a deviation from the protocols established by the hospital and a violation of standard nursing procedures.
Mazow/McCullough, PC was able to obtain Summary Judgment in regards to liability on behalf of its client. Shortly after Summary Judgment was obtained, the insurer for the hospital offered to mediate the case and the matter was settled for $535,000.00.