Postoperatively the patient did well, although she did experience an elevated temperature and some left-sided pain. Tests revealed no abnormalities, but she was started on antibiotic therapy before she was discharged home on post-op day 7. She did well initially, but a little over a month after the surgery, the patient developed an infection in her incision. The wound was cleaned and she was treated with oral antibiotics and she improved.
Two months later, however, she returned with purulence and foul-smelling drainage from her wound. An exploratory laparotomy revealed a subcutaneous abscess that extended into the peritoneal cavity. The abscess contained two retained lap pads. Unfortunately, the patient had a stormy postoperative course with a perforation, fistula, and another abscess.
The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in leaving two lap pads inside of her during the initial surgery. The defendant contends that he performed a reasonable inspection prior to the closure of the peritoneum. The nurses reported a ‘good count’ to him and recorded the correct count in the chart.