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Medical Verdicts

Sponge missed, second surgery needed

November 2004 · Vol. 16, No. 11

<court>St. Louis County (Mo) Circuit Court</court>

Several days after delivering a child by cesarean section, a woman began experiencing severe abdominal pain. Although no abnormality was noted on postoperative x-ray, a surgical sponge was later found in her abdomen, requiring surgical removal.

The woman claimed negligence was committed by the Ob/Gyn for not removing the sponge, the radiologist for not detecting its presence on x-ray, and the hospital team for inaccurately accounting for the sponges prior to surgical closure.

The Ob/Gyn testified that he relied on the surgical team to keep accurate track of the sponges used.

  • The radiologist settled for an undisclosed sum. The jury awarded the plaintiff $175,000, with fault assigned at 20% to the Ob/Gyn, 20% to the radiologist, and 60% to the hospital.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.