A woman from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, sued her hospital after severe pain revealed a surgical instrument had been left inside of her body.
Michelle Doig-Collins underwent a uterine ablation and tubal ligation after experiencing heavy periods, and was supposed to start feeling better after a few days. Instead, the pain got worse.
"I was nauseous, had heavy cramping, heavy pain," she told KCAL.
She was diagnosed with a vaginal infection, and prescribed antibiotics, which temporarily eased the pain. But the pain soon came back even worse than before. While using the bathroom, she made a terrifying discovery.
"My toilet paper got caught on a metal probe," she said.
Doig-Collins was rushed to the hospital by her husband, and an X-ray revealed that a surgical instrument had been left inside her for 11 weeks.
"How did no one see this?" Medical malpractice attorney Jeffery Greenman said. "I am telling you from experience that this is not that rare."
Greenman said Doig-Collins "very well could have died."
"She could have got sepsis or some other horrible infection that didn’t go away," he said. The attorney, who is representing the mother of three in her lawsuit, said he was investigating how the surgical tool was left inside of the patient.
Many readers expressed shock over the incident.
"This is why Surgical Nurses are supposed to count every item before and after," one Daily Mail reader commented.
"The only thing that the doctors are liable for or should be liable for is the bills that you and incurred afterwards in my opinion what you don't count for much all it does is make the medical bills go up to where nobody can afford to go to the doctors you didn't die so suck it up so the rest of us don't have to," a reader wrote on the site's Facebook page.
"This is serious," another wrote. "Why nobody know instrument was missing. Malpractice indeed."
"Glad she is OK and the lawsuit will help with recooperation," another added.
Some readers said the staff should have counted the number of instruments more carefully before and after the procedure.
"That's why we count -- outside of the obscured field -- everything in can be easily counted out -- this was sloppy arrogant behavior and should be punished, or otherwise certain, to prevent a repeat of this mistake," one Daily Mail reader wrote.
"In countries that practice modern medicine, they do count them, they count sponges during surgery too, multiple times," another added, going on to comment on Britain's health care system. "The NHS is so strained I'm sure things get missed because routine safeguards get skipped."
Sources: KCAL, Daily Mail / Featured Image: Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera/U.S. Air Forces Central Command / Embedded Images: Daily Mail