Surgical tool left in woman's stomach for 4 months
Tuesday, December 17, 2002 Posted: 11:03 AM EST (1603 GMT)
WINNIPEG, Canada (Reuters) -- It took an airport metal detector to give a Canadian woman a clue to why she was suffering from persistent stomach aches four months after having abdominal surgery.
Despite the detector's beep, airport security guards in Regina, Saskatchewan, were unable to find any metal on her body before the woman's October flight to Calgary, Alberta.
Several days later the woman had an X-ray.
It showed a 30-centimeter (11.7-inch) long, 5 cm wide surgical retractor, used to hold incisions open, had been left in her abdomen after surgery four months earlier at the Regina General Hospital.
The woman now wants compensation from the surgeon and the hospital, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.
"I would think that it would be an understatement to say surprise, probably more like horror, that this surgical device was left inside her abdominal cavity," the woman's lawyer, Jeff Scott, told the CBC.
After surgery, medical staff are required to account for each piece of equipment used, said an official from the Regina health authority, which oversees the hospital.
"Systems are never perfect and, as always, we strive to do the best we can," Brian Laursen, the senior vice-president of the health authority, told the CBC.
"But inevitably, in any system, there tends to be the occasional failure," he said.
The woman had surgery to remove the retractor a day after her X-ray. She told the CBC she is still in pain.