A woman from California rushed to use the bathroom when she was overcome with severe pain. Unfortunately, the pain only escalated, and she collapsed on the floor. She was then rushed to a hospital where doctors began to search for the cause of her symptoms, and what they found inside of her vagina on an x-ray left her completely floored.
Michelle Doig-Collins of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, had undergone surgery in April but was surprisingly feeling worse after the procedure. On one particular day, she was experiencing a significant amount of pain, and things only got worse when she went to use the bathroom.
While she was there, she collapsed on the floor in agony. Her concerned husband Eddie quickly took her to the hospital for treatment. However, when doctors began to run some tests, Michelle was left shocked as an x-ray revealed what was inside of her vagina and causing her problems — a surgical instrument.
During her routine surgery months before, the staff at The Surgery Center had accidentally left a probe inside of her vagina during the procedure. Shortly after the surgery, she had complained about her discomfort to her doctors.
Unfortunately for her, the doctors merely prescribed antibiotics at the time, which obviously didn’t help her discomfort. As a result, when she went to use the bathroom several weeks later, her agonizing problem became clear rather quickly.
“My toilet paper got caught on a metal probe,” she recalled, according to CBS News. As the probe began to fall out, she could no longer handle the pain, causing her to collapse right there in the bathroom.
After her husband Eddie took her to the emergency room, she was shocked but glad to have some clear answers. “I had this thing in me for 11 weeks,” Michelle explained, according to Daily Mail. She is now suing the clinic for the “retained surgical item.”
To assist her with her case, she has hired a medical malpractice attorney named Jeffery Greenman. “How did no one see this?” Greenman asked. “I am telling you from experience that it is not that rare.” In fact, up to 4,000 Americans leave surgery every year with a retained surgical item, a foreign object, left inside their body that doesn’t belong, solely caused by the mistakes of medical professionals. “She very well could have died,” Greenman added. “She could have got sepsis or some other horrible infection that didn’t go away.”
This woman endured unnecessary pain for an entire 11 weeks because the crew in the operating room failed to follow simple, standard procedure. Of course, people are allowed to make mistakes, but mistakes shouldn’t be happening when the solution is already addressed in policies that are in place.
During any surgical procedure, all instruments, as well as anything else used in the surgery, including down to each surgical sponge or gauze pad, is to be accounted for, according to recommended practice. It is standard practice, according to the Association of Surgical Technologists, that “sharps and miscellaneous items should be counted on all procedures that present with the possibility that a foreign object could be retained in order to support
patient safety practices in the perioperative setting.” In short, if the staff did as they were trained during their basic education, this would not have happened. Period.
Because of this, several people on social media couldn’t believe what happened to Michelle. “This is why Surgical Nurses are supposed to count every item before and after,” one person stated, reiterating the standard expected in the operating room. Another person simply stated what many of us were thinking, “Horrible.” Shockingly, there were others who defended the mistake. In fact, one person said, “When there is lots of blood, things happen. Everything is supposed to be counted, but human error.”
Honestly, there is no excuse for anything like this happening. Surgical procedures require all instruments being brought into the room to be counted before the surgery begins and again when it’s finished to ensure something exactly like this didn’t happen, plain and simple.
It’s not human error when something like this gets missed, it’s a lazy shortcut that could cost someone their lives. These surgeons are professionals, entrusted with the lives of others, and should be following the protocols in place that prevent anything like this from happening — period.