The outrageous scenario took form not long after Helmut Brecht (who in some major media reports is inexplicably referred to as Dick Schroeder) underwent routine surgery for prostate cancer several years ago at a "Protestant Church-linked" hospital in Germany. According to Brecht's family, the surgery left their beloved family member in "appalling agony," and also spurred the immediate spread of his cancer throughout his body. Brecht eventually had to return to the hospital after a baffled in-home care nurse observed a surgical gauze pad literally emerging from the wound where his surgery took place.
Upon readmission to the hospital, it was determined that Brecht had other unknown objects embedded inside his wound as well, prompting further intervention. Two surgeries later, doctors successfully removed 16 different surgical instruments from Brecht's body, including cotton swabs, a surgical mask, a six-inch roll of bandage, a six-inch long compress, and other materials. The hospital has since tried to deny that it was at all responsible for this gargantuan surgical misstep, insisting that the objects entered the man's body "post-operative." But a lawyer for the family says this is absolute nonsense, and is seeking swift justice for her client's family.
"Such an extent of foreign objects left inside a patient is unique in medical literature," explained the family's lawyer, Annette Corinth, to the U.K.'s Daily Mail about the incident. "I hope the hospital will settle, but otherwise the family is prepared to go all the way and sue in court. The family of the deceased spent lots of money on care, medicines, and reconstruction of their home to look after this man. There has been gross negligence here which most probably had led to complications and possibly a quicker death."
Similar incidents in the U.S. have also been reported in recent years, including the 2011 case of an Ohio man whose Veterans hospital surgeons allegedly left two towels inside his body, resulting in an eventual $275,000 settlement. And back in 2009, a Kentucky woman was awarded $2.5 million after surgeons left a surgical sponge inside her body during a hysterectomy. Part of the woman's small intestine actually had to be removed due to the error.
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