ETHICAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS OF RETAINED TEXTILE FOREIGN BODIES IN ABDOMINAL CAVITY
Keywords:textile foreign body, abdominal cavity, patient safety, medical ethics, postoperative complication, malpractice, medico-legal issues
Objectives. To study and summarize the opinions of operating surgeons in evaluating and addressing the ethical issues associated with textile foreign bodies left behind in the abdominal cavity, as well as their views on the best way to manage the potential legal consequences of such cases in comparison with current international standards.
Materials and methods. This is a cross-sectional observational study conducted by means of a survey, distributed in the printed or electronic questionnaires, mainly to abdominal surgeons and operating obstetrician-gynecologists, as well as a review of the international medical literature.
Results. We received 241 completed questionnaires with detailed responses about the specifics of surgical specialty and the physician’s seniority; personal experience with missed abdominal textile foreign bodies, including number of known cases and time of detection; risk factors and preventive measures; assessing and addressing ethical issues related to foreign body retention, as well as their views on how best to deal with potential legal implications. Most abdominal surgeons and operating gynecologists have encountered cases of textile foreign bodies retention during their professional activity. Half of the respondents characterized textile foreign bodies as a serious medical error that falls within the definition of malpractice.
Conclusions. Our study revealed significant contradictions between the stated commitment of surgeons and gynecologists to the requirements of modern medical ethics and their application in daily practice. The risk of human error cannot be completely eliminated in an unpredictable and complex surgical environment, so individual responsibility for leaving textile foreign bodies must be accompanied by systemic improvements.
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