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Medical swab inadvertently left inside patient results in damages award

Jun 13th, 2019

Sarah Merrikin, Chartered Legal Executive

The Claimant underwent an ablation procedure at hospital due to heavy periods. She was under the care of a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. 

The procedure was uneventful, but shortly afterwards the Claimant began to experience pain and an unpleasant discharge. The Claimant contacted the hospital to report continuing symptoms which were worsening. 

Upon examination at hospital, it was established that a medical swab had inadvertently been left inside the Claimant during the ablation procedure. This was removed. The Claimant had developed an infection, for which she was prescribed antibiotics.

The Claimant underwent a total abdominal hysterectomy as she could not face a further ablation procedure. She suffered psychologically as a consequence of the incident of the retained swab, and had to undergo counselling.

There was a clear breach of duty in relation to the retained swab as this is considered to be a “never-event”, that is a kind of mistake that should never happen.

Medical reports were obtained from a Consultant Gynaecologist and a Consultant Psychiatrist in support of the claim.

The Claimant received £10,000 in damages for pain and suffering and to include the costs of counselling.

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Sarah Merrikin

Chartered Legal Executive

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