The German media is reporting that a hospital in Germany is being sued after surgeons allegedly left 16 medical items inside a cancer patient's body during a surgical operation in 2009.
The patient identified as Dirk Schroeder, 74, reportedly had a "routine surgery" for prostate cancer. The operation was successful, and doctors told him that he had at least "another six years to live."
The patient suffered "appalling agony" after the surgery. Family members said he developed pains that were so intense that he could not sit. The family called a nurse to his home in Hanover, Germany, after he complained of intense pain and poorly healed surgical wounds. The nurse was shocked to find a gauze pad sticking out from his surgical wound.
According to The Huffington Post, the German-language newspaper Bild, reports that surgeons operated on Schroeder once again and were stunned to find 16 pieces of medical equipment in his body. According to the Daily Mail, the items included "a needle, a six-inch roll of bandage, a six-inch long compress, several swabs and a fragment of surgical mask."
The surgeons removed the objects in two separate operations.
Although Schroeder survived the incident, he died last year from complications that arose from cancer. His family believes that the surgeons' error hastened his death. The Huffington Post reports that according to the German-language newspaper Die Welt, Schroeder's daughter said: "He wanted to live to see his 80th birthday."
His family is understandably upset about the incident and have demanded for compensation from the hospital.
According to The Huffington Post, the German-language newspaper Osnabruker Zeitung, reports that Annette Corinth, medical rights activist and lawyer representing the Schroeder family, said the hospital first offered $660 in compensation, claiming that the instruments may have entered the patient's body "post-operation."
The hospital which has not been named, however, did not explain how the man could have ingested "post-operation" 16 medical objects that include a needle, a mask and a six-inch roll bandage.
The family is seeking $127,000 in damages.
Ms. Corinth said: "I hope the hospital will settle but otherwise the family are prepared to go all the way and sue in court. The family of the deceased spent lots of money on care, medicines and reconstruction of their home to look after this man. There has been gross negligence here which most probably had led to complications and possibly a quicker death."
The lawyer added: "Such an extent of foreign objects left inside a patient is unique in medical literature."
According to The Huffington Post, errors occur during medical surgeries more frequently than acknowledged. A 2012 report by researchers at John Hopkins University found that at least 4,000 surgical errors occur in the US every year. According to Health News, the errors include "leaving objects inside patients, performing the wrong procedure and operating on the wrong side of the body."