Six-Figure Confidential Settlement Leads to Hospital Policy Changes

Partner Jeff Zenna recently obtained a six-figure settlement against a New Jersey hospital and two urologists. The case involved a surgical procedure by two urologists. During the procedure the urologists placed endo catch bags into the patient to be used to collect tissue. One of the bags wan inadvertently left behind and not removed prior to the termination of the procedure. At the time of the surgery the hospital did not have a written procedure in place to account for the bags at the end of the surgery. The urologists felt it was the operative nursing staff’s responsibility to ensure the bags had been removed. The nurses felt it was the surgeon’s responsibility. During discovery it was learned that the surgical bags were not a part of the official written count policy utilized by nurses and doctors to ensure that all surgical instruments are removed from the body. As a direct result of this case, the hospital changed its policy to specifically include that this surgical device be counted at the end of any surgery in which it’s used so as to safeguard the patient.