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15 October 2008

Docs leave spatula in patient

A gynaecologist and two trainee doctors in Greece were handed suspended prison sentences after forgetting a 22-centimetre medical spatula in a patient's abdomen.

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A gynaecologist and two trainee doctors in northern Greece were handed suspended prison sentences after forgetting a 22-centimetre (nine inch) medical spatula in a patient's abdomen, a local justice source said.

The three accused and a scrub nurse received suspended prison sentences of between 10 months and a year.

The oversight took place during minor surgery on a 45-year-old woman at a hospital in the northern city of Serres in January 2005. The patient soon developed breathing problems, a skin rash, fever and a gathering of fluid in her abdomen.

Her doctors initially attributed the problems to an allergic reaction and gave her medication, but a CAT scan subsequently found the missing surgical instrument.

The patient had been awarded 50 000 euros in damages in a prior civil trial. – (Sapa, October 2008)

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Sponge count off after surgery

 
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