advertiser banner advertiser banner
Digital Issues

Home >  News >  June, 2014

Left Behind for 4 Years: Sponge Leads to Misery, Litigation

Patient says she was repeatedly misdiagnosed.

Published: June 20, 2014

A sponge left inside a California woman cost her several years of misery and misdiagnoses, and might end up costing a hospital, 3 physicians and 2 radiologists, as well.

Carol Critchfield, 63, is suing Simi Valley (Calif.) Hospital, the surgeons who performed her hysterectomy in 2007, an ER physician, and 2 radiologists who detected the presence of a metallic object on an X-ray taken 2 days after her surgery, but who failed to report their finding up the chain of command, her lawyer, Steven C. Gambardella, told Outpatient Surgery. Mr. Gambardella declined to identify the physicians and radiologists named in the suit.

According to news reports, over the 4 years that followed her surgery, Ms. Critchfield suffered nausea, constant thirst, vaginal bleeding, blurry vision and abdominal pain, and was variously diagnosed with severe constipation, gastrointestinal distress and an ovarian cyst. In 2011, when her ovaries were removed, the sponge was discovered. She says it had become "encased with scar tissue," which required that a "large amount of [her] intestine" be removed, as well.

The hospital reported the incident in 2011 and was fined $25,000 in 2012.

A statement released by the hospital reads in part, "We take our responsibility to our patients very seriously, which is why we self-reported this incident. … This event occurred in 2007 and since that time, we have implemented additional processes that further promote patient safety."

The cap for malpractice damages is $250,000 per patient in California, a figure that has remained the same since the 1970s. A measure that would raise the cap to $1 million is on the state's November ballot.

Jim Burger

Also in the News...

Surgeon Operated on Wrong Part of Brain
Widow Sues Olympus and Custom Ultrasonics Over Husband's Superbug Death
Surgeons Reach Peak Performance Between 35 and 50 Years Old
Results From Head-to-Head Comparison of Exparel and Conventional Bupivacaine
Forbes: Punitive Ban on Physician-Owned Hospitals Imposed by the Affordable Care Act Has to Go
'Post-Hospital Syndrome' Is a Risk Factor in Elective Surgery
FDA Approval of Sugammadex Appears Imminent

Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:


advertiser banner

Other Articles That May Interest You

News & Notes

News & Notes

Here Are Outpatient Surgery Magazine's Best of the Best in Surgery

These 7 facilities exemplify teamwork and collaboration in the OR.