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Lawsuit: VA doctors left scalpel in Army veteran's body 4 years after surgery

By Ray Downs
Lawsuit: VA doctors left scalpel in Army veteran's body 4 years after surgery
The Faxon Law Group says this x-ray image shows of the scalpel left inside Glenford Turner's abdomen area for four year. Photo via Faxon Law Group

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- A U.S. Army veteran from Connecticut has filed a lawsuit against the Veterans Administration for leaving a scalpel in his abdomen for four years after he had surgery in 2013.

Glenford Turner, 61, had been complaining about abdominal pain ever since he underwent a radical prostatectomy four years ago. On March 29, 2017, he went to a VA hospital in West Haven, Conn. for an MRI.

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But the scan had to be stopped after Turner began to experience "severe, worsened abdominal pain," his lawyers said.

That's because x-rays revealed that Turner had a scalpel lodged between his bladder and rectum -- and doctors confirmed it was the same scalpel used in his 2013 prostatectomy. But even after the scalpel was located, doctors didn't remove it until the following month.

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"I don't know how the man is still alive, frankly, because [the instrument] could have pierced the bowel, it could have pierced the intestines, it could have pierced the stomach," attorney Joel Faxon told the Boston Globe. "There are a lot of sensitive parts in the lower abdomen."

In a statement to NBC Connecticut, Fox blasted the VA's "haphazard" care.

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"The VA's low standard of care has been the subject of much discussion lately, but this is a new low. Better care can be had at a veterinary hospital," he said."They should be ashamed of themselves."

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The VA has not commented on the pending litigation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has called the incident "egregious" and asked the VA for a full explanation of what happened, the Hartford Courant reported.

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