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Compensation may be sought by a man on the grounds of medical negligence following a botched appendix operation.
The unnamed patient was left with a pair of forceps inside his body after he underwent surgery at a hospital managed by the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust in April this year.
The forceps, measuring around eight inches in length, were discovered several weeks later when the man returned to the hospital for a routine X-ray following his surgery, and the NHS has now launched an investigation into how the medical mistake happened.
Under the terms of standard clinical procedure, medical staff should count all their surgical tools both before and after carrying out an operation in order to make sure none of the implements go missing.
However, such a check was not conducted in this instance and, consequently, the patient was left with the forceps inside him. This is the third time that this type of accident has occurred under the Trust's watch since 2009.
Julie Pearce, chief nurse at the hospital Trust, commented: "What normally happens is that if the count doesn't match up, an X-ray is done while the patient is still in theatre. In this case, staff hadn't completely adhered to policy." She went on to say such incidents should not happen at all and only occur "very rarely".
"In the last three years, we've only had one of those events and each year we do about 90,000 surgical procedures," Ms Pearce added.
In the similar medical negligence cases a small fragment of a drill was left inside the palm of a patient's hand and another instance saw a small piece of the same equipment left in an individual's femur.
Vice president of the Patients' Association Dr. Mike Smith noted that while it is sometimes better to leave such fragments in place than attempt to remove them, such practice should ideally be "avoided completely".
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