Lawsuit Filed Against Mercy Hospital After Surgical Equipment Left Inside Patient

Thursday, March 17th 2016, 6:18 pm
By: News 9

A lawsuit was just filed against an Oklahoma hospital after a surgical sponge was forgotten inside a patient's knee.

Due to the infection and several follow-up surgeries to correct the problem the woman says she can't run anymore and is in constant pain. The case was filed Thursday morning against Mercy Hospital. The plaintiff is a 23-year-old athlete who was a student at Oklahoma Christian College.

"You get that kind of sick feeling in the middle of your stomach that something is terribly wrong,” the patient’s mother Deeann Jarvis said.

There was something wrong, and things were escalating fast. Four days after ACL surgery Whitney Jarvis had a fever, was very lethargic and wasn't getting any better.

"I just was in a lot of pain, and I wasn't really getting better,” Jarvis said. “I just felt really weak and wasn't myself."

Her mother called the doctor, and a foreign object was discovered inside Whitney's knee - a sponge left behind after surgery. Whitney's parents asked for those X-rays.

"They didn't send the x-rays with the sponge in it. We had to go back in and specifically ask for that X-ray so that we could get a copy of it,” Her father Scott Jarvis said.

They also asked an attorney for help in dealing with the hospital.

"To leave a sponge inside a knee, which is a really small area, means that the healthcare providers weren't paying attention and were careless in what they were doing,” medical malpractice attorney Les Weisbrod said.

News 9 showed Whitney's X-ray to an orthopedic surgeon outside this case. He said "[It is] odd that a sponge that big could be overlooked or misplaced" and that typical surgery protocol includes a before and after surgery count of everything used during the procedure to discover anything that may be missing like a sponge.

He also says during circumstances like this, hospitals typically conduct an investigation to figure out what happened and if anyone needs to be reprimanded.

"They need to pay the proper compensation for the damage they've done to her; the additional surgeries that this caused and the condition she's going to live with for the rest of her life. And they need to make corrections in their personnel, policies and their procedures to make sure that this doesn't happen to anybody else,” Weisbrod said.

Mercy Hospital released a statement saying this is an ongoing matter, and they do not respond to pre-litigation before they've had a chance to see the pleadings and conduct an internal review.