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Oops! Surgeons at RI Hospital left forceps inside a patient’s abdomen

October 26, 2010

So… in the middle of Rhode Island Hospital’s press conference about its $300,000 fine for leaving a piece of drill bit inside a patient’s scalp, Chief Medical Officer John Murphy mentioned a second situation.

When we asked what the second situation was, the officials said they learned about another object left inside a patient in July.  They said they’d rather not get get into the specifics of the incident because they’re just starting to investigate what happened.   But the Rhode Island Department of Health was willing to talk.

Anne Marie Beardsworth with the Rhode Island Department of Health says the patient didn’t know anything was wrong until he/she had a medical imaging test on October 15th.  The test revealed a pair of forceps in the patient’s abdomen.  Beardsworth says the forceps haven’t been removed yet, but the patient has surgery scheduled to get them out.

Hospital officials say they’ve apologized to both of the patients, and they’re doing well.  In a statement to hospital employees, president and CEO Timothy Babineau wrote-

Our surgeons and medical staff are some of the best in the world. Our policies and procedures are rigorous, and should ensure the safety of our patients.  However, in these two instances, it appears that we did not comply with our own policies. We need to find out why that happened, and to fix the problem.

Annemarie Beardsworth says the latest incident is troubling.

But, at this point we do have to collect all the facts.  So,  we’re going to go out there, do the investigation, collect the facts,  determine if there are any deficiencies and determine what if any outcomes there need to be.

The image of a pair of forceps inside an abdomen is especially troubling, but I have to add that this does happen in other hospitals in other states.  Check out my other blog post for some perspective.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lefty Righty permalink
    October 27, 2010 2:14 am

    Just because these happen in other states does not make it right (or shoudl I say left). Maybe Rhode Island Hospital can use that as there sloggan: “we leave the same amount of surgical instruements as other hospitals do”

  2. Lefty Righty permalink
    October 27, 2010 2:16 am

    No suprise that they had this error given the findings by the Department of Health that they have incorrect surgical counts. I wonder what will be the next type of error to occur at this hospital.

  3. Judee permalink
    October 28, 2010 1:30 am

    This is unacceptable. It’s happening at an institution we have trusted and respected over the years.

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