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Army veteran sues VA after leaving scalpel in him for 4 years

The VA allegedly left a scalpel inside a veteran during surgery. (Phyo WP/WikiMedia)
January 15, 2018

An Army veteran is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs after it was discovered that the West Haven VA Hospital allegedly left a scalpel in his abdomen four years earlier.

Glenford Turner, 61, experienced what was described as “severe abdominal pain” for four years after a surgery at the West Haven VA Hospital in Connecticut, according to new reports.

Turner’s surgery was in 2013. When he returned four years later, after experiencing dizziness and abdominal pain, an X-Ray revealed that there was a scalpel inside his abdomen, the Associated Press reported.

The VA allegedly left a scalpel inside a veteran during surgery. (Twitter)

“The MRI was stopped when Turner started having severe abdominal pain,” a local Fox affiliate reported. “Attorneys said that X-Rays showed an abandoned scalpel inside Turner’s body. Turner’s lawyers said doctors confirmed it was the scalpel knife used during Turner’s radical prostatectomy, which had been performed four years earlier at the West Haven VA in August, 2013.”

Turner needed surgery to remove the scalpel, and his lawyer, Joel Faxon, said doctors determined it was the same scalpel that had been used during surgery four years earlier, the Associated Press reported.

Turner filed a lawsuit against the VA in U.S. District Court last week, reports said. The lawsuit says Turner’s surgery to remove the scalpel was in April 2017, the Fox affiliate reported.

His lawyer called the act “an incomprehensible level of incompetence,” the Associated Press reported.

Faxon said in a press release:

“Mr. Turner served our country proudly for decades. It is shocking that in return for that service the VA thanked him by deploying a rookie surgical trainee to perform the surgery who showed an incomprehensible level of incompetence by losing the scalpel in Mr. Turner’s abdomen and not bothering to find it. He just sewed him up and moved on to his next victim.”

The VA told the Associated Press on Monday that it doesn’t typically respond to pending litigation.