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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Oklahoma City Doctor & Mercy Hospital-OKC sued for leaving surgical sponge in a patient


In the spring of 2014 at the end of her junior year at Oklahoma Christian College, Whitney Jarvis was playing intramural soccer and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. Dr. Hale performed ACL surgery on her on May 16, 2014, which was roughly six weeks after her injury.

Notwithstanding a purported sponge count and verification, a surgical sponge was not removed before closing the incision. A subsequent x-ray detected a Ray-Tec surgical sponge that had been left in her left knee. On May 20, 2014, four days after her initial surgery, Dr. Hale then surgically removed the foreign body surgical sponge that he had left inside her knee.

Whitney Jarvis has undergone three more operations to debride the resultant scar tissue, submitted to countless hours of physical therapy, and has yet to regain full function and range of motion of her left leg.

Retained surgical instruments are also considered a “never event” by the National Quality Forum, indicating a “preventable, serious, and unambiguous adverse event that should never occur.” Retained surgical instruments are considered a “sentinel event” by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which indicate the need for an immediate investigation and response by the hospital.

Dallas attorney Les Weisbrod, a nationally-recognized medical malpractice attorney and past president of the American Association for Justice (the world’s largest trial lawyer association), is representing Whitney Jarvis.

Weisbrod said, “In this day and age, it is unbelievable that sponges are still left in patients. This case is a particularly egregious example of health care providers not paying attention and not caring about what they are doing. A knee is a small, enclosed space and to leave a sponge in it would seem obvious. The health care providers were just not paying attention. Moreover, everyone in Oklahoma City should know that when something indefensible like this occurs, Mercy Hospital has absolutely no interest in doing right by their patients. They made no attempt to offer Whitney any compensation until she got a lawyer, and even then, they invited this lawsuit rather than pay reasonable compensation for what Whitney has been through at her young age.”

Weisbrod also said that this incident was totally avoidable.

“Whitney and her family want to make sure this doesn’t happen to someone else in Oklahoma City. They hope that by calling attention to what happened and the need to file this lawsuit will serve as a wake-up call to health care providers in Oklahoma City to care about their patients, pay attention, and improve their systems so that others don’t have to suffer,” Weisbrod said.

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If you or a family member suffered due to hospital negligence or nursing error, the trial lawyers of Miller Weisbrod, LLP welcome the opportunity to stand up for your rights and fight for financial justice. Please call our main offices in Dallas today at 214.987.0005 or toll free at 888.987.0005 for a free consultation. You may also contact us by e-mail today for answers to your important questions, or to schedule an appointment.


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