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Vet Sues VA After Scalpel Left in Body

An Army veteran is suing a Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in Connecticut alleging a scalpel was left inside him after a surgery. The scalpel was discovered years later after the man suffered from long-term abdominal pain.

Details of the Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

According to CBS News, Bridgeport resident Glenford Turner, 61, underwent surgery at the West Haven-based VA hospital in 2013. Roughly four years later, Turner returned to the VA complaining of dizziness and severe abdominal pain.

An x-ray revealed there was a scalpel inside his body. Turner had to undergo surgery in April 2017 to have the instrument removed.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court last week.

Medical Malpractice Rates in the United Sates

According to the BMJ, medical errors result in 251,454 deaths every year, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease and cancer. Even when not fatal, medical errors can result in a life-time of pain and disability.

It is important to note, not all medical errors will result in a medical malpractice claim. In fact, medical malpractice requires that plaintiffs prove:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed
  • The doctor was negligent in their diagnosis or treatment
  • The doctor’s negligence was the cause of the injury claimed
  • The injury claimed led to specific damages

Common forms of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Childbirth injuries
  • Medication errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Surgery errors



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