Surgical Instrument Found in Woman’s Abdomen Months After C-Section

Auckland City Hospital, situated in Auckland, New Zealand, mistakenly left a substantial plastic surgical object inside a woman after a standard C-section. She experienced persistent abdominal discomfort for several months after the surgery and sought medical assistance while looking after her newborn.

Following 18 months and numerous visits to doctors and the emergency room, she eventually underwent a CT scan, which revealed the presence of the object within her abdominal cavity. The left-behind item is approximately the dimensions of a dinner plate and is employed to maintain the surgical site open during the operation. 

Typically, it should be removed during the concluding stages of wound closure. This marks the second occurrence in the span of two years where a medical device was inadvertently left inside a patient at an Auckland hospital. In a prior incident, a small swab was left within a woman’s abdomen following a procedure and was discovered months later.

The hospital and the healthcare commission have expressed their apologies for the mistake and are dedicated to preventing such occurrences in the future. They intend to make the “count policy” mandatory and conduct regular enforcement. 

This policy mandates that everyone present in the operating room must meticulously track each item used and verify its removal from the patient before concluding the surgery. In the case of the mentioned C-section, there were 11 adults present in the operating area, and it’s truly perplexing that this sizable object was inadvertently left inside the patient.

New Zealand is generally considered a safe destination for maternity care, with maternal mortality rates being significantly lower in the region when compared to other global areas. Post-operative care in New Zealand is deemed to be sufficient, and studies indicate that it is on par with similarly sized and demographically comparable countries. 

While doctors exhibit empathy, they also acknowledge that errors can happen, and no surgical procedure is entirely devoid of risk as unforeseen complications can arise due to the human factor. All parties involved concur that this unfortunate incident could have been prevented and hope for its prevention in the future.




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