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Surgeon forgot wire in woman abdomen

A 45-year-old woman, who had opted for a government health scheme at a private nursing home in Adityapur, near Jamshedpur, to have her bleeding uterus removed five months ago, will now need an expensive surgery to pull out a six-inch-long metal wire left behind by careless doctors last time.

Until then, Parvati Ustad — the wife of a poor farmer from Dalbhumgarh in Ghatshila subdivision of East Singhbhum — will have to bear the pain of a festering infection caused by the foreign object in her abdomen for so long.

Dr M.K. Sinha, a surgeon at MGM Medical College and Hospital where the woman underwent a repeat X-ray and ultrasound on Tuesday, confirmed that a metal wire was triggering the acute pain in her abdomen.

“I examined her test reports. The foreign object appears to be a six-inch-long metal wire. She has developed infection and needs immediate surgery to avoid critical condition,” Dr Sinha said, also conceding medical negligence. “The surgeon who had carried out the uterus operation might have left the wire by mistake, a grievous one to make.”

According to Parvati’s son-in-law S. Chandra, his mother-in-law complained of stomach ache around the beginning of this new year and was detected with dysfunctional uterine bleeding, an abnormal genital tract condition usually caused by hormonal disturbances.

N.N. Jha, a former senior medical officer of Tata Main Hospital, says if a woman suffering from this abnormality doesn’t get her uterus removed, it may lead to complications, including cancer.

So, as advised by doctors in Ghatshila, Parvati was operated on at Save Life Hospital — a nursing home in Adityapur — on February 16.

The resident of Moulisole village in Dalbhumgarh decided to use her BPL card to avail of a special scheme because husband Umakant Ustad is barely able to sustain their family of four by tilling a small patch of land. She paid Rs 30 as registration fee under Rashtriya Swastha Vima Yojana and was treated for free.

“For a couple of days after the surgery, she had felt relieved. However, she complained of acute abdominal pain soon thereafter. As time went by, she started vomiting almost everything she ate. We consulted doctors in Ghatshila who suspected post-operative infection and recommended X-ray and ultrasound,” said Chandra.

Parvati was taken to a clinic, Surakshya Scan Centre, in Ghatshila where the tests were performed on July 12. “The doctor examined the reports and said there was some foreign object in her abdomen. We did not believe him and decided to come here (MGM hospital). Unfortunately, the reports are the same again,” Parvati’s son-in-law said.

He reiterated that doctors at the state hospital had suggested an early operation.

“But, we won’t get it done here or any other government-sponsored place, where people belonging to the BPL category are treated negligently. We will rustle up money for her surgery at a private hospital,” he added.

Dr Sinha of MGM said a surgery to remove the wire at any private hospital would cost a minimum of Rs 50,000.

Seraikela-Kharsawan civil surgeon K.N. Mishra said that if wrong treatment was provided under the scheme and the same led to health complications, the insurance company concerned would have to pay medical relief to the victim.

Chandra said he was not aware of any insurance benefits, but would try to find it out. “Right now, our priority is to get the wire removed. Later, we may move the consumer court for compensation towards medical negligence,” he said.

Do you know of any similar case of medical neglect?

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