NBC News in San Diego reports that five hospitals have been fined a total of $300,000 by the California Department of Public Safety for “dangerous errors.” One of the errors is described as follows:
Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, April 16, 2010: A malleable retractor was left inside a 66-year-old woman's stomach during a hemorrhoidectomy (removal of hemorrhoids).The flexible metal instrument was described as being approximately 12 inches long and 1 inch wide. Surgeons performed a second operation to remove the instrument.
I have some real news for you. Unless this was the mother of all hemorrhoids, it is very unlikely that a 12 inch long retractor was left in the stomach [obviously, they meant to say abdomen] of a patient. Hemorrhoids are located in the anorectal area. One does not need a 12 inch long retractor nor does one need to open the abdomen to perform a hemorrhoidectomy. So if this retractor was left in the abdomen during hemorrhoid surgery, it is a bigger problem than simply leaving a retractor in a patient. The surgeon had to have been completely lost or temporarily insane to have done what this report claims.
I think there is something else going on here. It could not have been a hemorrhoidectomy that resulted in this complication.
Oh well, let’s not let the facts get in the way of a sensational story.