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

By Ray Downs  |  Jan. 16, 2018 at 1:58 AM
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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.

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.

"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.

"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."

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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