Shockingly, the incidence of surgical items mistakenly left inside patients has remained steady over the years. UpToDate estimates that retained surgical items occur in 1 in every 5500 to 18,760 inpatient operations, but may be as high as 1 of every 1000 to 1500 abdominal cavity operations, and even more common during emergency surgery. When a surgical instrument or sponge is mistakenly left inside a patient after surgery, medical malpractice is inevitably the cause.
The practice of anesthesiology is broad in scope extending from the control of pain and consciousness in the operating room or elsewhere to the control of pain generally in the hospital or even in the outpatient setting. In the operating room, the anesthesiologist, in addition to having an extensive monitoring role, has independent responsibility for evaluating and supporting cardiopulmonary function. Because of their monitoring functions, anesthesiologists, as a rule, document their activities contemporaneously and more thoroughly than any healthcare provider other than perhaps the critical care nurse.
An injury to the bile duct occurring during the course of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, which injury results in recurring problems with the potential for permanent liver damage should be considered a case of possible medical negligence until proven otherwise. In general, when appropriate surgical safeguards are employed in the performance of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy there is no unintended injury to the bile ducts. Unintended injury to the bile ducts when it occurs is often a result of doctors having failed to employ those safeguards deemed appropriate for the performance of such a procedure.