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Heart surgeon leaves 16cm of metal in patient

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Heart surgeon leaves 16cm of metal in patient
File photo: Andy G/Flickr
11:28 CEST+02:00
A patient recovering from heart surgery has launched legal action after finding his doctor left him more than a prescription for painkillers. Mysterious pains led to the discovery of several pieces of a metal probe in his arteries.

A 50-year-old patient from the Rhône-Alpes region of south-east France might have been forgiven for thinking that surgery was the best thing for him, after suffering a heart attack in 2010.

It turns out, however, that the cure may have been worse than the disease, after six separate pieces of a metal probe, measuring up to 7 cm in length, were found in his arteries, seven months after his operation.

The unlucky patient, Nourredine Lamache, underwent an invasive probe at the CHU hospital in Annecy, in July 2012, but all did not go smoothly thereafter.

“I had pins and needles in my right arm, and a prickling pain in my head. I couldn’t sleep, and I had a pain in my shoulder,” Lamache told French daily Le Parisien on Tuesday.

Devoid of explanations, he consulted an angiologist (blood vessel and vein specialist) in February this year. A scan of his arteries revealed something out of the ordinary – several metal fragments, between 3 and 7 cm long.

The pieces of a broken probe had, unbelievably, been left inside Lamache’s body after his 2012 operation and were moving slowly towards his brain, causing serious risk of a stroke.

“I could have died. I’m waiting for the surgeon’s apology,” Lamache told Le Parisien.

Surgeons opened him once again and removed the metal earlier this month.

But his troubles didn’t end there, however. Further scans and consultations with doctors suggest that Lamache’s arteries are still home to three other fragments of the broken metal probe - in his arm, shoulder and the base of his neck.

According to Le Parisien, he is still deciding whether or not to go under the knife once more to have them removed. In the meantime, Lamache is taking action of another kind.

His lawyer, Caroline Colomb, told Le Parisien, “The error here is obvious. And we will be demanding compensation.”

For its part, the hospital has offered Lamache their services, and is seeking an amiable, out-of-court settlement.

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