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Georgia residents depend on their physicians and other medical caregivers when they are injured or ill. If surgery is required, patients expect medical staff to see them through the operation and recovery with careful attention to every detail. What patients do not deserve or expect is a surgical error to be made by their caregivers that leads to further complications.

When surgeons fail to finish the job

According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, every week in the United States, including Georgia, an estimated 39 surgical patients emerge from surgery with something left behind that doesn’t belong inside the patient. This can happen if doctors close a surgical incision without checking thoroughly, and some object is not removed. In about 80 percent of cases, the object is a surgical sponge, but other items like instruments and needles have also been left inside patients.

The total comes to about 2,000 retained object incidents a year, which some experts say is small compared with the number of surgeries performed. However, for a person who experiences a retained object after surgery, it is no small matter at all.

One young man was rushed into surgery after being struck by a bullet that damaged his kidney and ended up in his spine. Although surgeons were able to repair the kidney, the young man kept getting bladder infections and had recurrent pain. Finally the urologist ordered a scan, which revealed a sponge that had been left in during the emergency surgery.

The young man had to undergo a second operation and was laid up for another six weeks. The discovery of the retained sponge came three years after the first surgery.

Many other patients have similarly experienced pain, infections and other complications due to retained objects and have had to undergo additional debilitating surgeries.

Preventing the mistakes

In 2008, Medicare stopped reimbursing hospitals for the costs of correcting retained object mistakes in surgery. Medicaid announced in 2011 that it would also cease to pay hospitals for these errors.

As additional motivation for hospitals to employ policies to prevent surgical errors, states are penalizing the offending hospitals. In California, the state’s Public Health Department is considering revising its rules to allow hospitals to be fined even if a patient is not seriously harmed by a retained surgical object.

Hospitals must institute procedures to rigorously keep track of the medical objects used during surgery. New technologies are available, including a system for scanning surgical sponges electronically and tracking the count of sponges used to avoid inadvertently leaving one in a patient.

Health care professionals and institutions must be held accountable when their mistakes injure the patients who put their trust in medical providers. The Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed medical malpractice judgments and settlements over the twenty-year period ending in 2010, finding that 4,860 cases involved retained surgical items. These cases are the tip of the iceberg.

Georgia residents who have experienced negligent treatment by medical caregivers can file a suit for medical malpractice. Proving malpractice and obtaining the maximum benefit possible for the patient is a complex task that requires the skills of an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney. It is worthwhile to consult with an attorney if there is any reason to believe medical treatment was not competently provided.

Contact Us

Augusta

2919 Professional Pkwy

Augusta, GA, 30907

Phone: (706) 432-8320

Athens

325 North Milledge Avenue

Athens, GA, 30601

Phone: (706) 227-4264

Atlanta

3333 Piedmont Rd NE, #2050

Atlanta, GA, 30305

Phone: (404) 736-9282

We have recovered millions for our clients

The attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP have over 30 years of collective experience handling personal injury claims. Over that time, we have helped hundreds of injured people recover the compensation they deserve and need in order to begin putting their lives back together. This list is just a sample of the recoveries we have obtained for some of our clients here and during our time at our former firm, Burnside Wall LLP. Obviously, success in obtaining significant judgments and settlements for other clients is no guarantee of success in your case. Each case must be evaluated and handled based on the individual merits of that particular case. To discuss the facts of your case and learn more about your legal rights, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at Burnside Law Firm LLP for a free initial consultation.

Medical Malpractice / Head Injury

$4,500,000 settlement

Pharmacy & Prescription Error

$1,800,000 settlement

Medical Malpractice / Anesthesia Injury

$1,600,000 settlement

Auto Accident / Multiple Fractures

$1,250,000 judgment

Auto Accident / Wrongful Death

$1,000,000 settlement

Dram Shop / Wrongful Death

$1,000,000 settlement

Read more

Meet The Team

Thomas R Burnside III

Thomas R. Burnside III is a personal injury lawyer who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have suffered injury as a result of automobile collisions, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, work related accidents or other causes. With over 20 years of experience in personal injury law at both the trial and appellate court levels, Attorney Burnside has represented people with brain and head trauma...

Meet Thomas Burnside

Mark B. Williamson

Mark B. Williamson has been engaged in a civil litigation practice since 1997, both at the trial and appellate court levels, focusing primarily on personal injury related cases. The personal injury litigation focuses on the representation of individuals who have been injured or damaged as the result of automobile accidents, truck accidents, medical malpractice, and workplace injuries.

Meet Mark Williamson

Garon Muller

Garon Muller is a trial lawyer who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have been seriously injured or damaged through the negligence or recklessness of others, including automobile collisions, workplace injuries, premises injuries, or defective products. Before beginning his practice in the representation of injured individuals, Mr. Muller served the community as an Assistant District Attorney...

Meet Garon Muller

Our Client Reviews

Burnside Law Firm

5.0 / 5.0

Based on 38 reviews

Erin Wren

After my car accident they helped me every step of the way! They were up front and answered any questions I had! They negotiated the insurance and got a higher settlement than was offered! I would definitely use them again!

Terri Hawkins

My husband and I had an awesome experience in dealing with Attorney Mark Williamson and the entire staff at the Burnside Law Firm. We received exceptional service and was very pleased with the outcome. Mr. Williamson and his colleagues were very helpful and assisted us from the beginning to the end. We highly recommend the Burnside Law Firm.

Damien Lanclos

I have known Thomas Burnside and his family for years as I grew up with Thomas. I have recently had the pleasure of meeting his partner, Mark Williamson. There is an aphorism that I have found to be universally true, "A company is known by its people." Thomas, Mark and their staff are great people. I have leaned on Thomas for legal advice not related to his expertise and he has referred me to others who have taken good care of my personal and business interests.

Debbie Walker

In November 2017, I was in a car accident and I decided to seek out legal assistance. I chose to go with Burnside Law Firm, LLP because of their five star rating. My inital consultation was with attorney, Mr. Garon Muller. I knew immediately that I wanted Mr. Muller to take my case. His professionalism and expertise in personal injury made my decision easy. Mr. Muller maintained his professionalism throughout my case. He kept me updated on a regular basis via telephone or email. He was always available to me when I call. I did not have to wait 24 hours to get a call back from him. I would greatly recommend Mr. Muller and the Burnside Law Firm, LLP.

Rick Estep

Burnside Law Firm is who you want to represent you. Mr. Muller came to our house for a free consultation without hesitation. He guided us and overcame every obstacle we encountered. He secured the maximum insurance limits for us and we couldn't be more happy. If you are injured, DO NOT attempt to recoup compensation without the expertise of a trusted, skilled and able law firm to be your voice. THANK YOU MR. MULLER!!!

Jennifer Malonjao

Burnside Law Firm LLP is one of the best law firms in Augusta. Before starting my lawsuit I checked out a few places and Burnside felt to be the best. They did not let me down. Mr. Mark Williamson was my attorney and throughout my entire case he was extremely easy to talk to and I felt like I was treated like a person, and not just a check. He worked very hard on my case and I feel as if I could not have received the settlement I did with anyone else. He made sure my husband and I knew everything that was going on throughout the entire process. I will always recommend Burnside to anyone that needs legal assistance. The entire staff is very friendly and welcoming from your first step in the door on day one to your last step out the door when your case is complete. I am beyond satisfied.

Joseph Mitchell

One of the best experiences I have ever had, friendly staff, my lawyer Mark Williamson was very ho est and detailed in what the procedures he was able to offer. I will definitely come back with anything I need again. I highly recommend

Alexander Hughes

Garon Muller with Burnside Law Firm makes client satisfaction his priority. Mr. Muller made sure that I had a lucid understanding during every discussion. He never made a decision without my input and made me feel like we were partners. Garon Muller was very professional and push for the maximum dollar amount from the insurance company. Me and my family considered ourselves blessed to have been represented by Garon Muller with Burnside Law Firm. We highly recommend Garon Muller and Burnside Law Firm! Burnside Law Firm staff are exceptional and exceeded our expectations.

Free case evaluation

Augusta

2919 Professional Pkwy

Augusta, GA, 30907

Phone: (706) 432-8320

Athens

325 North Milledge Avenue

Athens, GA, 30601

Phone: (706) 227-4264

Atlanta

3333 Piedmont Rd NE, #2050

Atlanta, GA, 30305

Phone: (404) 736-9282