Retained surgical items (RSI), foreign items left inside a patient after a surgical procedure, present life-threatening issues for patients and create potential liability for surgeons, hospitals, and the medical team. RSI are considered “never events,” errors in medical care that never should occur and are identifiable, preventable, and serious in their consequences for patients.
For every 10,000 surgical procedures, about 1.32 procedures result in foreign items left inside the patient. An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 retained surgical item cases are brought each year in the United States.
Attorneys, physicians, insurers, employers, and other potential parties to litigation need to understand the types of litigation issues that may arise in connection with an injury involving a retained surgical item.