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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.

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2919 Professional Pkwy

Augusta, GA, 30907

Phone: (706) 432-8320


325 North Milledge Avenue

Athens, GA, 30601

Phone: (706) 227-4264

We have recovered tens of millions in settlements and verdicts

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.

Commercial Vehicle/Death


Auto Accident/Death


Workplace Accident/Leg Injury


Medical Malpractice/Surgery Complication


Medical Malpractice/IV Procedure Error




No fee unless we win

Meet The Team

Thomas R. Burnside III Personal Injury Attorney

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
Garon Muller Personal Injury Attorney

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
Robert MacGregor

Robert MacGregor

Robert MacGregor is an experienced trial attorney licensed to practice law in Georgia and South Carolina. At the Burnside Law Firm, Robert devotes his practice to protecting the rights of individuals who have been injured because of someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness and represents those who have been injured in automobile collisions or tractor-trailer accidents; because of a slip and fall; and in other general negligence actions.

Meet Robert MacGregor

Ashton Revollo

Ashton is a trial lawyer in Augusta, GA who focuses his law practice on the representation of individuals who have suffered serious injuries or damages due to the negligent or reckless conduct of others, including automobile wrecks, job-related accidents, unsafe premises, or defective
products. Before beginning his practice, Ashton obtained his J.D., at Emory University School of Law, where he gained valuable courtroom experience as an intern assisting the District Attorney for DeKalb
County. After his time at Emory, Ashton received experience as a trial attorney at a respected personal injury firm in Atlanta before moving to Augusta. Over the course of his career, Ashton has assisted deserving clients in recovering millions of dollars in injury cases throughout Georgia.

Meet Ashton Revollo

Our Client Testimonials

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!

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!!!

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.

Lynn Eldridge

I have known the Burnside family for many years. Recently Thomas was most helpful in getting my check following an auto collision. I highly recommend their firm.

Damien Williams

I definitely felt comfortable in there hands really good people.

Jacob Clements

Very very good law firm. Went above and beyond to make things right. Highly reccomend.

Barbara Huskinson

Burnside Law did what they said they would do. Garon Muller was great in communicating and looked out for my best interest in getting what was fair in my settlement. I would recommend Burnside to anyone.

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    2919 Professional Pkwy

    Augusta, GA, 30907

    Phone: (706) 432-8320


    325 North Milledge Avenue

    Athens, GA, 30601

    Phone: (706) 227-4264