Abdominal pain is a fact of life for some throughout Rhode Island. This pain can range from just a mild case of indigestion to severe problems requiring surgery. For many, the thought of surgery is frightening; therefore, some patients will put off visiting their doctor as long as possible. The majority of the time, this fear is unwarranted; however, for one patient in another state, a sponge which was left behind during her abdominal surgery may be a case of wrongful death.
In 2009, a 58-year-old woman underwent abdominal surgery. During the surgery, the surgical team noted that the sponge count was off. The doctor located one sponge that had been left behind and removed it. The doctor ordered an X-ray, although he apparently did not review it to ensure that all sponges had been removed. In spite of the fact that there had been a surgical team shift change during the operation, he took their word that all sponges had been accounted for and concluded the operation.