Last April a woman in Rancho Santa Margarita California checked into an Orange County surgery center for a routine gynecological procedure. The courts have now marked that date on the calendar, because that’s when the lady’s personal medical nightmare started.
Michelle Doig-Collins is the patient’s name, and she regrets having kept that particular appointment. It involved a tubal ligation. Michelle is a mother of 3 and she kept wondering why she wasn’t feeling better in the days and weeks after surgery. In fact, she was feeling a whole lot worse.
“I was nauseous, had heavy cramping, heavy pain,” she remembers.
So she went to see her doctor, who performed a pelvic exam. And then she went again. And then she went again. She was told she had a vaginal infection and was prescribed antibiotics. Faulty exam. Wrong diagnosis. Drug-pushing instead of fact-finding.
Sound familiar? It should. It happens a thousand times each day.
Not long after, when she went to the bathroom, she was horrified when the tissue paper got stuck on the tip of a metal probe inside her. Her husband drove her quickly to the closest emergency room and that was where the mystery ended. Michelle finally had an explanation for her agony. An x-ray revealed that, yes indeed, a surgical instrument used in her procedure had been left inside her.
“How did no one see this? But I can tell you from experience that it’s not that rare.” (Medical malpractice attorney Jeffery Greenman)
According to multiple studies on the subject, the best guesses are that 12 Americans every day are discharged from the hospital with a surgical item left inside them. That’s about 4,000 patients a year.
“Michelle very well could have died. She could have got sepsis or some other horrible infection that didn’t go away,” Greenman said. Greenman, who is representing Michelle, is investigating exactly how this happened, and why it wasn’t discovered during postoperative exams by her doctor.
“I had this thing in me for 11 weeks,” Michelle said. Fortunately she is now on her way towards a full recovery.
For more on the subject, take a peek at this article: