Retained Foreign Body Claims – Medical Negligence Claims

Would you like to know more about retained foreign body claims after a medical procedure? If an object or material was left in your body after an operation, then you could be entitled to claim compensation for the harm this has caused you.

foreign body claims

Retained foreign body claims guide 

In this guide, we aim to provide you with the information you may need to make a medical negligence claim. Additionally, we will discuss what duty of care a medical professional owes you. Furthermore, this guide will explore the potential compensation you could receive if your claim were to be successful.

You can also contact one of our advisors if you would like to speak to someone personally about your potential claim. Our friendly team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer any of the questions you may have concerning your claim. They can also provide you with free legal advice.

To speak with an advisor today about your claim:

Select A Section

  1. When Could You Make Retained Foreign Body Claims?
  2. Retained Foreign Objects – Why Are They A Problem?
  3. How Long Do I Have To Claim?
  4. When Can You Make Retained Foreign Body Claims?
  5. Retained Foreign Body Claims Calculator
  6. Getting Help With No Win No Fee Retained Foreign Body Claims

When Could You Make Retained Foreign Body Claims?

All medical institutions, whether in the public or private healthcare sector, should ensure that surgical procedures are conducted in accordance with the accepted standards of medical care. Retained foreign objects (RFO) are surgical instruments, sponges, devices or tools that have been left inside a patient unintentionally following a surgical procedure.

If a foreign body has been left behind following your surgery, you may have the basis for a medical negligence claim. A foreign object being retained in your body after a procedure is an example of a Never Event, which means that it is always a breach of duty of care. Furthermore, you will need to undergo another operation in order to have this removed.

Contact our advisors today for further guidance regarding your potential surgical negligence claim.

Retained Foreign Objects – Why Are They A Problem?

Health practitioners have a legal duty of care to treat patients to the correct standard. If this duty of care is breached, and you’re harmed as a result, this is an example of medical negligence.

This duty of care extends to all medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, surgeons and GPs. It can also apply in various medical settings, including the hospital, A&E and nursing homes.

If a medical professional were to leave behind a foreign object inside of you post-surgery, this could cause harmful consequences and may require emergency surgery to rectify the mistake. Leaving a foreign object in your body is an example of a Never Event.

Never Event is the term used to describe an incident that could have been entirely avoidable if the proper frameworks and standards of the medical profession had been followed. This means that Never Events always occur because of a breach of duty.

Injuries Caused By Retained Foreign Objects

Depending on what has been left behind and how long it is retained inside the patient, retained foreign bodies could cause:

  • Internal blockages.
  • Cuts or internal abrasions that might cause internal bleeding.
  • Sepsis.
  • Injuries leading to wrongful death.

Furthermore, even if you do not experience any of the above, you will be required to undergo another operation to remove the object. This is an example of a medical procedure that could have been avoided by the right level of care being administered.

You may also suffer psychological harm after discovering that medical equipment had been left inside of you following your surgery. This could include depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), for example.

For further guidance on the circumstances that could entitle you to make a claim, speak with a member of our team today.

How Long Do I Have To Claim?

Retained foreign body claims must begin within the correct time limits. Generally, these time limits are:

  • 3 years from the date of harm caused by medical negligence.
  • 3 years from the date it was first realised that the harm was caused by a breach of duty of care.

Minors have 3 years to start their claim once they turn 18. Alternatively, a litigation friend (which is appointed by the court) can make a claim on their behalf before this time. While the injured person is still a child, the time limit is suspended and a claim can be made at any point.

If someone lacks the mental capacity to claim, they will have 3 years to start a claim if they regain their mental capacity. Alternatively, they can also have a litigation friend make a claim on their behalf at any point while they’re unable to claim themselves.

To find out whether you are still within the time limit to make your medical negligence claim, contact our advisors today.

When Can You Make Retained Foreign Body Claims?

When pursuing retained foreign body claims, you must ensure that you meet the following criteria for your claim to be valid:

  1. A medical practitioner owed you a duty of care.
  2. This medical practitioner breached their duty of care to you by leaving a foreign object in your body post-procedure.
  3. You suffered harm as a result of this.

Additionally, providing sufficient evidence that medical negligence took place could help support your claim. Potential evidence you could supply could include:

  • Correspondence with the medical institution responsible for the medical negligence following a complaint.
  • A copy of your medical records.
  • Records of any financial losses you have incurred.

Contact our advisors for some free legal advice concerning your specific claim.

Retained Foreign Body Claims Calculator

Settlements for successful retained foreign body claims could be divided into general and special damages.

General damages aim to compensate you for the harm you have suffered due to medical negligence. Providing evidence, such as a copy of your medical records, could help support your claim for general damages.

With this in mind, we have created a compensation table for general damages, using the amounts listed within the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The reason we have used the compensation brackets listed in the JCG is that many legal professionals, such as solicitors, will use the JCG to help them value claims.

Please note that this table should only be used as a guide. How much compensation you could receive will depend on your specific claim.

Kidney(a) Permanent and serious damage (or loss) of both kidneys.£169,400 to £210,400

Kidney(c) One kidney is lost. The other suffers no damage.£30,770 to £44,880
Bladder(c) Bladder incontinence and pain including serious impairment of bladder control.£63,980 to £79,930

Bladder(d) Some long-term interference with the bowels natural function. However an almost complete recovery will have been made.£23,410 to £31,310
Bowels(d) A temporary colostomy is needed, due to impaired bowel function following a severe abdominal injury.£44,590 to £69,730
Bowels(e) Some permanent damage to the bowels due to a penetrating injury. However, there bowels natural control and function will return.£12,590 to £24,480
Digestive System(a)(i) - Severe discomfort and pain following severe damage to the digestive system.£43,010 to £61,910
Digestive System(a)(ii) Non-penetrating injuries that create long-standing complications.£16,790 to £27,760
Spleen(a) The damaged immune system causes a continuing risk of internal infections. The spleen has also been lost.£20,800 to £26,290
Spleen(b) Minimal risk of the spleen being lost or the immune system being damaged.£4,350 to £8,640

As well as general damages, you may also receive special damages within your settlement. Special damages aim to compensate you for the financial losses caused by the harm you’ve suffered due to medical negligence. This can include past and future financial losses, such as:

  • Loss of earnings from missed work.
  • The cost of any medical procedures.
  • Adaptations to your home to deal with a newly acquired disability.
  • Travel expenses to and from essential appointments.

Proving evidence such as receipts, bank statements and invoices could help support your claim for special damages.

Contact one of our friendly advisors for further information regarding compensation for medical negligence claims.

Getting Help With No Win No Fee Retained Foreign Body Claims

You may want to consider legal representation when pursuing your medical negligence claim. If you are, then a solicitor from our panel may be able to help you with your claim with a No Win No Fee agreement. A popular form of this kind of agreement that you could be offered is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

There are various benefits to making a claim with a No Win No Fee agreement, such as generally having:

  • Nothing to pay upfront to your solicitor.
  • No fees to pay as the claim is ongoing.
  • Nothing to pay for the solicitor’s services if the claim fails.

You will pay a success fee (a small percentage of your compensation) if the claim wins to your solicitor. The amount is legally capped.

Additionally, you can contact our team of friendly advisors for some free legal advice regarding retained foreign body claims. Our advisors are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have concerning your specific claim.

To speak with an advisor today about your claim:

Retained Foreign Body Claims and Related Medical Negligence Guides

For more articles about medical negligence claims:

Additional information and resources:

Contact an advisor today if you would like further information on retained foreign body claims.

Guide by Megan

Published by Fern