Doctors remove gauze mistakenly left in patient for 20 years

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It was a lost gauze.

A woman finally had a strip of gauze removed from her body over two decades after a forgetful physician left it in her intestine during a procedure. A case study detailing her surgical straggler was published in July 2022 in the Cureus Medical Journal.

“The patient remained completely asymptomatic for 20 years with the presence of a considerably large foreign body in the abdominal cavity,” the authors wrote regarding the appalling medical malpractice.

The “preventable occurrence” occurred after the unnamed 65-year-old patient, who suffered from a rare type of cancer called gastric mucosal adenocarcinoma, underwent a series of operations in 1999 to eradicate the disease. She reportedly received a gastrectomy and epiploectomy before undergoing chemotherapy.

And while she was eventually declared cancer-free, it appeared that surgeons accidentally left something behind during the operation.

Ultrasound scans revealed a mass located in the woman’s abdomen.
Jam Press
Interestingly, the patient remained "asymptomatic" for nearly the entire 20 years the medical accessory was in her body.
Interestingly, the patient remained “asymptomatic” for nearly the entire 20 years the medical accessory was in her body.
Jam Press

However, the unfortunate soul didn’t notice anything was awry until a staggering 20 years later when she experienced two days of severe abdominal pain, fever, night sweats and swelling in her lower right limb. The patient also suffered from inexplicable anorexia, which caused her to lose 17 pounds — more than 10% of her body mass.

Alarmed at the sudden onset of symptoms, the patient reported to the hospital, where ultrasound scans revealed a large wad of gauze in her abdomen. Doctors believed that the sticky stowaway had been left in her colon during the operation over two decades prior.

Thankfully, surgeons were able to remove the first aid supply without a hitch. Accompanying photos show the recovered medical adhesive, which looks crusty and brown like an ancient mummy wrap.

Interestingly, the surgical straggler had appeared in various scans during the patient’s appointments over the past 20 years, however, she was unaware of it as doctors had reportedly never analyzed the reports. Not only that, but the patient hadn’t exhibited any symptoms for most of the two decades.

The sticky hitchhiker after being surgically extracted.
The sticky hitchhiker after being surgically extracted.
Jam Press

The case study authors didn’t disclose where the patient was from or where she received treatment.

This isn’t the first time someone has had a strange object stuck in an unlikely place for a ludicrous amount of time. This week, a 27-year-old man in India had to be hospitalized after allegedly shoving a deodorant canister up his rear, where it remained for three weeks before doctors removed it.

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