An Army veteran has filed a lawsuit, accusing a surgeon at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut of leaving a scalpel inside his body–where it remained for four years before being discovered.
According to the Hartford Courant, Glenford Turner, 61, claimed underwent a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy at the West Haven VA on August 30, 2013. He reportedly returned to the hospital and got an MRI on on March 29, 2017, after complaining of dizziness and abdominal pain.
It wasn’t until April 2017, four years after the original procedure, that the scalpel was removed. WFSB reported that the item was located near his stomach and intestines.
“It is shocking that in return for that service the VA thanked him by deploying a rookie surgical trainee to perform the surgery who showed an incomprehensible level of incompetence by losing the scalpel in Mr. Turner’s abdomen and not bothering to find it. He just sewed him up and moved on to his next victim,” attorney Joel T. Faxon, whose firm is representing Turner in the malpractice lawsuit, said in a statement Monday.
Faxon explained that the MRI was halted when his client experienced “severe, worsened abdominal pain” and that an X-ray revealed the scalpel’s presence. The attorney went on to call the alleged snafu “an incomprehensible level of incompetence,” according to the Courant.
Turner is reportedly seeking unspecified compensatory damages from the Veterans Administration for pain and suffering, lost work, additional hospitalization, and medical expenses.
“The VA’s low standard of care has been the subject of much discussion lately, but this is a new low,” Faxon said.
“Better care can be had at a veterinary hospital. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
[Featured Image: Glenford Turner X-ray/Faxon Law Group]