Helen O’Hagan claims the sponge was left in her abdominal cavity by surgeon Samuel Sakker during a 1992 colectomy.
She suffered cramps, fevers and loss of bowel control but attributed it to the long-running health issues that landed her in hospital to begin with, and did not discover the sponge until an October 2007 x-ray.
During that time the sponge “became encapsulated in dense fibrous adhesions within a sac of fluid.” It was removed by a different surgeon on the same day that it was found.
O’Hagan won the right to sue Sakker for negligence or breach of contract over the incident, despite the now-retired doctor calling for the case to be dismissed because she had taken so long to start legal action.
Judge Leonard Levy accepted that O’Hagan was so preoccupied with her health woes, having been hospitalised 23 times since 1970, she did not initially seek answers about how the sponge had ended up inside her.
The delay was compounded by the fact that the surgeon who removed the sponge was posted interstate for the next three years and did not tell O’Hagan it could only have been left there by Sakker until last May.
Newswarped is wondering if anyone actually talks to anyone in Australia. “Madam X-rays show there is a sponge inside your abdomen I shall remove it.”
(A little while later) “Thank you for removing the sponge doctor. But I am too preoccupied with my health problems to ask you how or why the sponge got there in the first place.”
“Very well I won’t tell you then.”
(A long while later – 3 years in fact) “Doctor I am ready now for you to tell me about the sponge.”
“Ok – it was left there by a surgeon in 1992.”
“That is terrible – but hey, I might get some money out of this. I Think I will sue him.”