Surgical Instrument Left Inside
Image of surgeon consulting patient condition with another medic

Mary Harber of Susanville, CA, went to the hospital to have a benign tumor removed from her abdomen in April 2017. She is suing Shasta Regional Medical Center and Dr. Richard Mooney for medical negligence after an 8-inch long surgical instrument was left inside her during exploratory surgery. Dr. Mooney is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Redding, California, and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Mercy Medical Center Redding and Shasta Regional Medical Center. Mrs. Harber was discharged from Shasta Regional on April 19, 2017, but experienced severe pain in her back, abdomen, and kidney.  ER doctors at Banner Lassen Medical Center discovered the forceps inside her on May 1, 2017.

The Joint Commission Sentinel Event Alert Issue 51: Preventing unintended retained foreign objects, (October 17, 2013) states:

The unintended retention of foreign objects (URFOs) – also called retained surgical items (RSIs) – after invasive procedures can cause death, and surviving patients may sustain both physical and emotional harm, depending on the type of object retained and the length of time it is retained. There may be an extended time frame between occurrence and detection of an URFO. Retained foreign objects are most commonly detected immediately post-procedure; by X-ray; during routine follow-up visits; or from the patient’s report of pain or discomfort.

An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

The medical negligence lawsuit says Harber had 18 inches of her small intestine removed after “it looped through the handle” of the forceps. The suit describes Harber as needing further medical care and asks for medical and incidental expenses as well as loss of earnings for the past and future.

Gynecologists treat a variety of conditions including cancer, infections, infertility, etc.  A gynecology expert witness is commonly needed in medical malpractice cases arising from these surgeries and surgical complications which may develop. Hiring a top medical expert from the nation’s most respected medical institutions adds a powerful voice to your litigation team. Contact ELITE Medical Experts to be connected with the expert witness who fits the needs of your case.

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