A classic case that involves medical negligence occurs occasionally in Oregon and other localities. It occurs when the surgeon leaves an instrument, a sponge or another device in the patient's body after the surgery is completed. This kind of surgical error is almost always negligence because surgeons and hospital operating room personnel are taught to make sure that all such items are removed before closing the patient up.
They are expected to do a thorough count of the sponges and other items and make sure all are accounted for. That apparently didn't happen in one hospital where a man was having exploratory biopsy surgery to evaluate the nature of the plaque build-up in his stomach. After the biopsy was completed, the patient experienced great pain and the surgeons went in again to find a large amount of blood in the abdomen, which necessitated the placement of numerous sponges.
After that second procedure, kidney failure and a serious case of sepsis was diagnosed. Sepsis is a massive infection that travels throughout the body and takes a ravaging toll on various bodily organs and functions. It can often be fatal.
It appears that a CT scan revealed the sponge, which then had to be removed in a third procedure. However, a gaping large wound was left exposed due to the massive infection. The published reports seem to indicate that after several months of suffering, the sepsis cleared up. The man is now dead and a malpractice suit has been filed against the doctors and hospital involved.
However, from initial reports it appears that the widow is not be claiming wrongful death damages, but instead is seeking damages relating to the surgical error involving the sponge and the ensuing infection. If that is correct, it would indicate an inability to prove causation between the death and the negligence. In Oregon and all other jurisdictions, the negligence must be a substantial factor in causing the death in order to include a count for wrongful death damages.
Source: The Louisiana Record, "Widow claims medical malpractice after sponge left in husband allegedly led to severe infection", Kyle Barnett, Sept. 29, 2014