Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jul 12, 2010

Shattering the Myth of Trust, Taking Care of Ourselves (5)

Filed under: Medical Accident — admin @ 12:53 am

This is again from reading Internal Bleeding: The Truth Behind America’s Terrifying Epidemic of Medical Mistakes, by Robert Wacher and Kaveh Shojania. When I read the chapter “Did we forget something?” I found myself an utterly disbeliever over the description of a medical accident happened in mid 2002 — a retractor, 12 x 2 inches in dimension, left in patient’s abdomen after a surgery at Regina General Hospital. p. 135.

Then I went online to confirm the story. When I searched “retractor left in patient’s abdomen,” about 495,000 results came back in 0.38 seconds. Headed the list is “UPMC Patient Finds Retractor In Abdomen Month After Surgery – kdka.com” This happened in 2008. “CT Scan Finds Device Inside Patient After Surgery,” reported by Marty Griffin, Feb 11, 2008 6:58 pm US/Eastern, Pittsburgh (KDKA) ― A CT scan taken of 57-year-old Daryoush Mazarei a month after his surgery showed a metal surgical retractor in his lower abdomen — a medical mistake even doctors call bizarre. A retractor is a 10-inch pair of tweezers used to pull back skin or hold something in place. The surgeon is supposed to hold onto it the entire time it’s in use.

As I continued with the reading, I realized “leaving a sponge or tool behind” inside the patients’ body happen more frequently than I used to think, making me wondering if patients have to take an x-ray to confirm nothing has been left behind after a surgery. How else can patients protect themselves against this kind of medical mistakes?

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