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Swab 'left inside patient for months after surgery'

A consultant urologist left a 6.5cm swab in a patient after surgery and failed to identify it in a scan three months later, an inquiry has heard.

The public inquiry concerns the work of Aidan O'Brien at the Southern Trust between January 2019 and June 2020. It heard Mr O'Brien endangered or potentially endangered lives by failing to review medical scans.

He previously claimed the trust provided an "unsafe" service and was trying to shift blame on to its medics.

On Tuesday, the inquiry into Mr O'Brien's clinical practice heard almost 600 patients received "suboptimal care".

Counsel for the inquiry Martin Wolfe KC said the 6.5cm swab was left inside a patient by Mr O'Brien during a bladder tumour operation in July 2009.

The error was described as a "never event'.

At a CT scan appointment three months later in October 2009, a mass inside the patient's body was discovered by the reporting consultant radiologist. While he did not say it was a swab, he did "highlight the abnormality", said Mr Wolfe.

A report was sent to Mr O'Brien but, the Inquiry heard, he did not read it and no one took steps to check out the abnormality.

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Source: BBC News, 9 November 2022


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