In 2008, Annals of Surgery published a study, which revealed that about 13 percent of retained foreign objects left behind after surgery occur due to miscounting. Objects commonly left in a person's body following surgery are sponges, instruments, and towels. Complications may arise as a result of the negligence of the healthcare provider in leaving a foreign object in your body and the object may need to be removed requiring a second surgery.

One of the common problems that arises out of retained foreign object cases such as leaving a sponge in the abdomen of an injury victim is that the object may not be discovered right away. In Missouri, R.S.Mo. 516.105 provides that any claims against a health care provider must be filed within 2 years.

In Kansas, under K.S.A. § 60-513, the statute of limitations for bringing a medical malpractice malpractice action against a doctor or hospital is 2 years.

However, there are a certain group of cases that fall outside of the general rule. These may be referred to as sponge cases or retained foreign object cases and apply to anything left behind in a person's body after a surgery such as sponges, clamps, scissors, etc. Often times, the retained objects are not discovered until after the 2 years has expired. So an exception was made for such cases.

In Kansas, there is a general exception to the rule, which states that if an injury is not reasonably ascertainable until some time after the malpractice, the limitations period does not commence until the injury is reasonably ascertainable. For example, in retained foreign object cases, the injury may not be discovered until 3 years after the doctor left the object in the body, so even if you are experiencing symptoms, the cause of the symptoms may not be known until special tests, such as x-rays are performed so an exception was made allowing malpractice victims to bring suit against a health care professional outside of the traditional 2 year statute of limitations.

However, Kansas like many states also has a statute of repose, which prevents the action from being brought after a certain period of time. In Kansas, since 4 years is the cut off for bringing suit against a health care provider for a retained foreign object, you would be barred from bringing a claim even if not discovered until 5 years after being left in the body.

There are additional exceptions to the 2-year statute of limitations for medical negligence cases involving minors. There are also exceptions for other cases as well. 

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

You can also download our FREE book on medical malpractice.  
James Roswold
Connect with me
James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.