Woman sues Northwestern's Prentice Women's Hospital, alleges sponge left in abdomen after C-section

By Dan Harkins | May 7, 2015

A Cook County woman has sued a doctor, a hospital and nurses over a sponge allegedly left inside her during a C-section surgery.

Rachel Erceg and Stephen Bryant filed suit April 28 in Cook County Circuit Court against Northwestern Memorial Hospital, doing business as Prentice Women's Hospital, in Chicago; Dr. Sharon I. Wise; Northwestern Women's Health Associates; and nurses Nora Erfort and Deanna Smith, citing negligence and malpractice.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 3, 2013, Erceg was at Prentice Women's Hospital, undergoing a C-section surgery performed by Wise. The suit says a laparotomy sponge was left inside her abdomen. Erceg then visited Wise eight times in the coming weeks complaining of abdominal pain "and other symptoms of infection, such as fever."

Not until May 7, 2014, the suit says, did Erceg return to Prentice Women's Hospital to have the laparotomy sponge removed.

The suit says the defendants "failed to conduct a sponge count at the conclusion of the procedure; inaccurately or improperly performed a sponge count at the conclusion of the procedure; failed to discover one laparotomy sponge, or similar item, was left inside Erceg after her C-section; allowed the laparotomy sponge to remain inside Erceg after her medical procedure had finished; failed to recognize that the signs and symptoms of a postpartum infection she exhibited were indicative of a retained sponge; failed to assess and recognize that the sponge was the cause of Erceg's worsening condition; failed to remove the laparotomy sponge from Erceg in a timely fashion; failed to provide Erceg with adequate medical care, personal care, maintenance and treatment; and failed to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that surgical items were not left inside patients."

The plaintiffs seek damages of more than $550,000, plus costs. They are represented by attorney Daisy Ayllon, of Levin and Perconti in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No.: 15-L-4378.

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