Surgical sponges left in abdomen removed successfully at JNMC

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Normally, a problem of bloating and stomach discomfort occurs because of something you ate. But for three patients in Aligarh, these symptoms turned out to be the result of surgical errors — they were carrying gauzy surgical sponges inside their body botched up by surgeons at shady hospitals.

Thanks to the timely intervention by a team of surgeons led by Afzal Anees, Chairman, Department of Surgery, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the three patients have now been cured of Gossypiboma and the surgical sponges, accidentally left inside their body, have been taken out.

According to Anees, two of these patients had sponges left in their bodies for several days after cholecystectomy resection performed by private practitioners, while one had a cotton sponge in the pelvis for months after a dud of a hysterectomy procedure at an inferior medical centre.

“The patients with gauzy sponges in their bodies for several days were suffering from fever, vomiting and pain. They were examined with CT scans, which showed Gossypiboma, and the sponges were removed. But a severe damage and disruption to the anterior wall of duodenum and stomach was already done due to careless surgeries by private practitioners. However, we managed to excise the damaged and gangrenous portions through the Billroth-II surgerical procedures.

“The third patient with cotton sponge and fecal stainning in the pelvis for months suffered infections and difficulty in defecation. After a CECT scan, the Rectosigmoidectomy procedure was done and continuity of hollow viscera was restored with a stapling device. The patient has been discharged after recovery,” said Anees.

He emphasised: “It is shocking that such egregious errors still take place at shady hospitals even when we have the WHO surgical safety checklist — developed after extensive consultation to decrease adverse events. Doctors and stakeholders have been working on systems to prevent this problem as leaving objects behind can cause pain, infections, organ damage and even death.”

Patients should reach the best of doctors and government hospitals with state-of-art facilities to avoid such mishaps, said Anees.

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