Left intra-abdominal surgical instrument: Woman Endures 18 Months of Abdominal Pain After C-Section


Left intra-abdominal surgical instrument


Left intra-abdominal surgical instrument: After undergoing a cesarean section, pregnant women typically experience a period of intense pain. However, a woman in New Zealand suffered from frequent and persistent abdominal pain following her c-section surgery, with doctors unable to determine the cause. It wasn’t until 18 months later, during a computer tomography scan, that it was discovered that the source of her pain was actually a surgical tool left inside her body!

According to international reports, the woman underwent a c-section surgery at an Auckland hospital in 2020. She continued to experience severe abdominal pain and sought medical attention frequently. It wasn’t until 2021, during an emergency room visit and a CT scan, that it was revealed that a tool called the “Alexis wound retractor” (AWR) had been left inside her abdomen.

The AWR is a device used to expand the surgical incision, making it easier for doctors to perform the surgery. The doctor responsible for the woman’s operation explained that he initially used a smaller retractor but switched to a larger one due to its better fit. However, it was the latter that was mistakenly left inside the patient’s body.

The doctor added that typically, after closing the uterine incision, the retractor is removed. A nurse stated that although there is a process to inventory surgical instruments after the procedure, this particular tool was not included in the checklist and was overlooked.

Interestingly, the Auckland hospital had previously been involved in a similar medical negligence case in 2018, where a patient had retained cotton swabs in their abdomen. Following the incident, government authorities required healthcare professionals to perform thorough instrument counts, but this regulation was not diligently followed. The hospital has expressed its apologies to the woman and stated that improvements will be made to prevent such incidents in the future.


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