Woman waited too long to sue after claiming a sponge was left in her during C-section

By Rich Peters | Mar 13, 2019

PHILADELPHIA - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently declined to hear the appeal of a woman who claims a sponge was left inside her after her C-section.

Melissa and Carmelo Seminara had appealed a Superior Court ruling in favor of Dr. Steward Dershaw, Dr. John Stack and Holy Redeemer Women’s Care of Montgomery County.

The Seminaras allege that during a caesarean section on Dec. 11, 2003, at Holy Redeemer, Dershaw failed to remove a surgical sponge and other surgical materials from Melissa's body following the surgery, court filings said.

The plaintiffs also allege that defendant Dr. Stack provided substandard medical care by delaying the procedure.

The C-section was rushed, and he failed to properly store and count the sponges, gauze and other surgical materials prior to it, the plaintiffs claimed. 

Days after the surgery Mrs. Seminara still did not feel well and didn’t think she was recovering properly, eventually leading to a Feb. 4, 2004 MRI, that she alleges showed a sponge in her abdomen. The radiologist told her that it was a tampon and not a surgical sponge, but Seminara did not believe that to be the case.

On Dec. 9, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a writ of summons against the defendants but never immediately filed a complaint. Between February 2009 and November 2012, Seminara made several trips to specialists and had multiple surgeries, including the removal of her gallbladder and an exploratory laparotomy. 

The sponge was never proven to be discovered by any doctor. However, the plaintiff claims that Dr. Michael Wayne, who performed the Nov. 26, 2012, exploratory laparotomy, admitted that he did find a sponge during a follow-up visit but the statement was not reflected in any of the records.

The plaintiffs filed their original complaint on Nov. 26, 2014, almost 11 years after her 2003 caesarean section.

“The undisputed facts established she specifically investigated her belief regarding a retained foreign body in 2009 and 2010,” states the memorandum. “In the instant matter, the courts properly found that plaintiff’s claim was filed years beyond the statute of limitations as a matter of law and summary judgment in favor of defendants was appropriate.”

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