Donald Church was left in agony for more than two months when surgeons sewed him up after an operation and left a metal tool over a foot long inside him. When he complained that he couldn?t bend over, doctors told him this was to be expected after major surgery. He even set off metal detectors in airports. The University of Washington Medical Center has now paid him almost $100,000.
His first operation was in May 2000, to remove a 13 pound malignant abdominal tumor. The normal surgical practice is to count up the instruments used before closing the patient up, to make sure nothing is left inside the body. However, in this case, a foot-long malleable retractor, which is used to hold a wound open so that surgeons can reach inside it, was somehow overlooked.