Criminal negligence: Doctors forget towel in patient's abdomen

Have you ever heard of doctors leaving foreign bodies inside people during the surgery? Well that’s exactly what happened in Lagos! Find out more about it here.

criminal negligence

Two Nigerian surgeons proved to be unreliable. A few days ago Taiwo Shogunle, and Adeleke Olusegun from Lagos State were accused of a criminal negligence.

During the surgery they forgot to take the towel out of their patient. It caused immediate death of the man.

That’s why few days ago they had to face the Court and provide the judge with the full explanation of their actions and motives.

According to the sources, the crime was committed back in December at St. Raphael Divine Hospital. Even though the doctors don’t consider themselves guilty, it’s still a serious offense.

According to the words of the prosecutor, 53-year-old Shognule and 43-year-old Olusegun left a towel inside the patient during the surgery in the hospital of Lagos.

There was an investigation after which the prosecutors inclined to admit the doctors’ guilt. Even though they obviously didn’t do it on purpose, they can’t be excused.

Leaving any kind of object in the human body during the operation is highly dangerous – the organism of a person won’t accept it and the infection will spread out so quickly that they will die in a few minutes.

And his is exactly what happened. The prosecutor also referred to the section 222(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

However, doctors didn’t want to admit their responsibility for the death of this person. Their jobs involve risks as the human factor can make everything go wrong.

criminal negligence

The Court made a decision to bill each of them N500, 000. The final decision hasn’t been taken yet though. The prosecutors promise to be ready with the verdict in September.

Doctors leaving foreign bodies inside people

According to the annual medical reports, there are people who suffer from doctors’ negligence every year.

It might sound shocking but the cases like that happen from time to time even in the countries where the quality of medical service is very high.

Since 2005 there have been about a thousand people reported dead or really sick because the doctors forgot something inside their bodies during the surgery. However, only 5% of the reported victims died.

READ ALSO: Doctor strike in Nigeria: when is it to start?

It most likely happened because the doctors couldn’t diagnose what was wrong with the patient fast enough.

Statistics shows that a wide range of objects was found in the bodies – from towels and sponges to actual tools. Were the doctors just inattentive or unprofessional?

No one can say for sure but the human factor plays important role. That’s why it’s better to have another person who controls you during the operation.

The doctors are supposed to have nurses by their side. They have to help them count the tools and make sure that nothing is left at the wrong place.

No one can give you a 100% guarantee that everything will go well and that’s why people usually have to stay in the hospital for a longer time.

criminal negligence

The doctors have to watch them to see if they are feeling well. Operating and delivery rooms are places where this negligence is more likely to take place.

According to the statistics, most of the incidents happened when it was an emergency operation or when something went wrong and doctors had to figure out what to do really quickly.

It’s understandable as the stressful situation changes the course of events. But surely there is no excuse for the surgeons who make these mistakes.

Sophia Savage is a nurse who has experienced it a few years ago. The sponge that was left in her abdomen caused serious sickness.

Savage shared her story only 7 years after the incident. She gave an interview to New York Times where she described how terrified she felt.

She had constant pains in the area of her stomach – it was really painful and the doctors couldn’t figure out the cause of it.

Savage compared it to a nightmare and she would have never thought that the medical sponge left in her body would cause such a pain.

Moreover, it has also influenced her emotional state – she was going through a severe depression and no one could even figure out why.

criminal negligence

After the details were revealed, the hospital had to pay more than 2 million dollars to Savage. Since that time a lot has changed.

The surgeries are being controlled more carefully which means that the patients nowadays are much safer than about 10 years ago.

Right now the hospitals have not only nurses but also techs that control the process. They have to check the equipment and pay attention to the surgery itself.

In case something seems wrong, the computers will let the doctors know immediately. When this system was first introduced, it was a huge success.

Doctors around the world are using it now and it turned out that the cases of negligence stopped being so frequent.

Even though no one can reassure you that all your surgeries will go well, the quality of medicine is still increasing.

Hopefully in ten or twenty years the doctors will be better equipped and there will be no chance to make such mistakes in the future.

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