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Surgical error: woman not told of suture needle left in her body

This story of medical malpractice in a surgical error should remind everyone to do their research on their doctors and hospitals before procedures. In April 2004, a 33 year-old woman was admitted to a hospital for surgery to relieve a buildup of fluid around her heart. A doctor performed a pericardial window and removed roughly 500 cc’s of liquid. After the operation, the pains continued. For the next 9 months, the 33 year-old underwent x-rays and finally learned the truth during a heart catheterization. The doctor who was performing the surgery shouted “What the hell is that?” The doctor’s assistant replied “Doctor, that’s a suture needle.”

On the video of the catheterization, the curved needle left during a surgical error is plainly visible. During the 9 months of x-rays, the 33 year-old went to five different hospitals. In each case, the x-rays should have clearly exposed the needle in her chest, but she was never told about it. Everyone hid the truth from her. The 33 year-old continues to live with a surgical needle lodged in her chest because of a surgical error. She urges others to do their research on doctors before going to a hospital for a procedure.

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