Surgeon forgets pliers in young mother’s womb

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Malcolm Curtis - [email protected]
Surgeon forgets pliers in young mother’s womb
Scanned view of surgical pliers in woman's stomach. Photo: Screengrab France 3 Television

A French mother who gave birth to a child at a Normandy hospital in November got a nasty shock this week after learning the pain she had felt was down to a pair of pliers that a surgeon had left in her womb. The implement had lain undiscovered for six weeks.


We've all left things behind by mistake at one time or another but you would have thought that surgeons of all people would be ultra-careful to take all their belongings with them when leaving the body.

A physician at a hospital in France will have been cursing his carelessness after it emerged this week he had left behind a pair of surgical pliers in the womb of a young mum.

The French woman, had a caesarian operation at a Rouen university hospital on November 5th but when she returned home the pain wouldn’t stop, she told the radio station RTL.

“I put it down to the caesarian,” she said.

But as the torment continued she finally, on the advice of her GP, returned this week to the hospital, where doctors put her in for a scan of her midriff.

“There on the screen, I saw a pair of scissors in my body,” the shocked mother told RTL.

After six and half weeks carrying around the implement inside her she was naturally eager to be rid of the pliers as soon as possible. And thankfully she underwent a successful new operation to remove them on Wednesday night.

Although the surgeon, who conducted the caesarian retrieved the item he had left behind, the patient, still in hospital on Friday, is furious about what happened.

“It’s not normal,” she told RTL. “The doctor apologized. He did not have much of an explanation for what happened. He took responsibility.”

The Charles Nicolle hospital, part of the Rouen university hospital centre, acknowledged its fault.

Officials said the pregnancy was complicated because of the patient’s medical file, La Parisien reported.

The affected woman and her husband reportedly plan to file a formal complaint in the coming days over what is apparently not an isolated incident.

A young mother from Crétail, near Paris, recently sought legal action after a surgeon also left a pair of metal surgical pliers in her womb during an operation.


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