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AP: Montour woman accuses surgeon of leaving instrument in her uterus

PA Health Dept. does not require instrument counts

(1/21/2005) - Associated Press reports that a woman is suing a doctor who operated on her, accusing him of leaving a 4-inch metal instrument in her uterus.

According to the article, the lawsuit filed in Montour County Court says Dr. Samuel Owusu operated on Lori Klinger, now 35, in November 2002. Klinger said she was in severe pain when she returned home and called her doctor, the article reports. According to the lawsuit, Owusu told Klinger her pain was normal and told her to take pain medication.

According to the article, two days later, she went to the bathroom, and the instrument emerged from her vagina, the lawsuit said. Klinger said the instrument was sharp on one end with a rubber bulb on the other. She said she took it to the doctor's office.

"They made it out like it was no big deal," she said, though the lawsuit said Owusu did apologize.

"We felt there was a lack of procedures in place, that they should be checking these things," said Klinger's lawyer, Jane Sebelin of Drums.

The article also quotes, a perioperative nursing specialist  who said that this mistake happens at least once a year at all hospitals that perform 8,000 to 18,000 surgeries a year.

"It's something we try very much to avoid, but it's also something that we do recognize does happen."

According to the article, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health said there are no state requirements regarding instrument counts in operating rooms.

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