Foot-Long Surgical Tool Left in Woman's Abdomen

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Czech medical staff are being disciplined after a foot-long surgical instrument was found in the abdomen of a woman who was operated on five months ago.

The patient, 66-year-old Zdenka Kopeckova, repeatedly complained of severe abdominal pain following a gynecological operation at a hospital in the southeastern town of Ivancice.

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"I said that nobody helps me and I cannot live like this till the end of my life. I'll get pills, have a glass of an alcohol and hang myself," she said after the spatula-like instrument was discovered a week ago and successfully removed.

Kopeckova is seeking compensation over the error, claiming staff initially tried to cover up the mistake by saying there was nothing they could do but recommend pain killers.

"I told the head surgeon that if I had no pain I would not be complaining. I'm not a hypochondriac," she said, adding she had requested an x-ray but was told this would needlessly expose her to radiation.

Jaromir Hrubes, Ivancice hospital director, said strict operation procedures should have been followed by medical staff and an unnamed hospital official told Reuters Television that those concerned would be disciplined.

"The medical procedures at Ivancice seem perfect at the first sight, there is documentation and list of instruments used, but the person who did the evaluation did not report the missing object," said Hrubes.