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Appeals court allows medical negligence claim to proceed

Medical professionals in Pennsylvania are expected to provide medical care of an acceptable standard. Unfortunately, medical negligence sometimes causes unnecessary pain and suffering along with additional medical expenses. A man in another state died last September after living with a forgotten surgical sponge inside him since a surgical procedure in 2003.

Court documents indicate that during heart surgery in 2003, one of 40 surgical sponges was left in a cavity near the man's heart. Although being informed of the fact that only 39 sponges were recovered, the doctor allegedly allowed the wound to be stitched up when he failed to locate the missing sponge. When the patient visited the emergency room with complications in 2011, X-rays revealed what was first thought to be a tumor, but later found to be the missing sponge.

The patient filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in 2012, but a circuit court judge ruled that the statute of limitations prevented the case from going forward. The ruling was appealed, and the appeals court recently ruled that the lawsuit may proceed. The majority ruled that the defendant was aware of the malpractice but failed to disclose it to the patient, leading to the discovery at a date exceeding the statute of limitations.

The family of the decedent is now pursuing the lawsuit against the doctor, a medical center and a cardiovascular institute. Pennsylvania victims of medical negligence also retain the right to pursue financial relief. Because this is a complicated area of the law, many families or victims seek the guidance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to navigate such claims for them.

Source:, "Surgical sponge left near man's heart for 8 years leads to lengthy lawsuit", Bob Johnson, March 7, 2016

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