Surgical Device Left in Patient

Filed under Surgical Errors

The Russ Case

Ms. Russ began to have some abdominal pain, and went to her doctor, Dr. Elian. Dr. Elian diagnosed her gallbladder disease, and operated to remove Ms. Russ’ gallbladder. After the operation, to help with drainage, he inserted a Jackson Pratt drain tube, and to ensure that it didn’t fall out, he stitched it into Ms. Russ’ side.

After the operation, Dr. Elian checked on Ms. Russ, and decided to remove the Jackson Pratt drainage tube. He reached down, and ripped the tube from the side of Ms. Russ, but when he did, he apparently forgot about the stitch that he had put in to hold the tube, and the tube ripped. Dr. Elian didn’t check the end of the tube to make sure it was whole, but it had broken off, and the end of the tube was left inside Ms. Russ’ abdomen. Although Ms. Russ had grimaced in pain when Dr. Elian removed the tube, he just told her that everything was alright.

After several months, Ms. Russ began to have slight pains in her side which would come and go. Over the years, she began to feel additional pain in her sides and back, and sought medical treatment, and the pain was routinely diagnosed as strain or soreness, and nobody suspected part of a drainage tube had been left inside her.

Approximately ten years later, Ms. Russ’ brother had to undergo a kidney transplant, and needed a kidney donation. Ms. Russ agreed to be a donor, and in preparation, the hospital performed an MRI, and noticed that there was a retained medical device in Ms. Russ. When they removed the kidney for transplantation, they tried to get the piece of drainage tube, but they could not locate it. Unfortunately, due to the surgery, the piece of retained drainage tube shifted, causing Ms. Russ severe pain, requiring an additional operation. As a result of the operation, the doctor found the part of the Jackson Pratt drainage tube, and removed it.

Suit was brought against Dr. Elian, and the case was quickly resolved for a substantial settlement.

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