The plaintiff was 18 years old when she underwent a laparotomy at the defendant’s hospital in Essex County, Massachusetts. Two nurses and one scrub technician allegedly conducted three separate counts of surgical instruments and sponges during the procedure.
For nearly a year following the procedure, the plaintiff had a low-grade fever and suffered flu-like symptoms. Ultimately, she developed a lump in her groin and underwent a CT scan of her abdomen, which revealed the presence of a foreign object. She required two procedures to remove a surgical sponge still in place from the initial surgery.
The plaintiff was not aware of the foreign object left in her abdomen until one year after the surgery. There was no way that she would be able to prove exactly which of the nurses or the scrub technician left the sponge in her. The intra-operative nurse’s notes claimed that there was a correct sponge count. The only person involved in all three sponge and instrument counts was the scrub technician, and she denied that she miscounted.
Mazow | McCullough, PC moved for summary judgment against the hospital, the nurses, and the scrub technician. Mazow | McCullough, PC was successful in its motion for summary judgment, which shifted the burden onto the defendants to prove that they weren’t responsible for leaving a surgical sponge in the client’s abdomen. The case settled at mediation for $535,000 and Mazow | McCullough, PC was also able to have the client’s health insurance lien waived.