Medical negligence: Doctors leave cotton pad in woman’s abdomen during C-section, attempt to hide error

Post-surgery, she started experiencing pain so she was taken for a scan. However, the doctor refused to share the results with the family.

BySumit Jha

Published Mar 16, 2023 | 6:38 PM Updated Mar 16, 2023 | 6:38 PM

The 31-year-old patient Chinju Raj is a contract nurse at the same hospital. (Creative Commons)

In what can only be termed as “medical negligence”, a team of doctors at the ESI Hospital in Ezhukone of Kollam district in Kerala, allegedly left behind a cotton surgical mopping pad inside a patient’s abdomen during a Caesarean section surgery (C-section).

Interestingly, the 31-year-old patient Chinju Raj is a contract nurse at the same hospital.

The error and the attempt to hide it

Chinju Raj was admitted to the hospital on 10 March and welcomed a baby girl the next day via C-section.

After the surgery, she started experiencing excruciating pain after which she was taken for a scan. However, the family alleged that the doctor at the hospital did not share the scan results with the relatives even after being asked to.

The family also alleged that on 13 March, the doctors of the hospital took Chinju to a private scan centre for a CT scan, though Vipin, her husband, had already paid the final bill. After that, the doctor informed them that she needed another surgery in the guise of clearing a blood clot.

The family, unhappy with the hospital’s response, went to the scan centre and sought the scan result. The centre refused to share the results as well.

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Demand to shift the patient 

On 15 March, Chinju was diagnosed with pneumonia and infection in the abdomen during another examination, and following this, the relatives attempted to shift her to another hospital.

However, the hospital authorities allegedly refused to hand over the results and other documents related to her treatment.

Then, the family approached the Ezhukone police and after their intervention, the hospital handed over the results. She was shifted to the intensive care unit of another hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Spotting the error

The X-ray results at the hospital in Thiruvananthapuram showed the presence of a cotton-like object inside her abdomen, indicating that the doctors, while performing the C-section, left behind a cotton surgical mopping pad after the surgery.

When the doctors from the hospital contacted the ESI Hospital superintendent, he admitted to the negligence and said that an inquiry has been launched.

The object that was left inside the patient was removed immediately. When the relatives sought to shift the patient to a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, she was accompanied by a medical team from this hospital that also included the doctor who had performed the surgery.

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Demand for justice

Vipin, husband of the patient who was subjected to medical negligence in Kollam, told South First that he would soon approach the state human rights commission seeking justice.

“Neither the ESI Corporation nor the central and state governments are taking the matter seriously. As the hospital is under the Union Labour Ministry, the state government feels it has nothing to do with the case,” charged Vipin.

Vipin said that the family has already filed a police case and has done whatever possible it can against the erred surgeons and operation theatre staff.