10/15/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Providence, R.I.—The Rhode Island Department of Health has launched an investigation into a medical blunder in which a piece of a surgical drill bit was left in a patient’s body after an operation. The mistake occurred at Rhode Island Hospital and was one of several errors to occur within the last few years, according to an October 13, 2010 WPRI report.

According to information provided, an unidentified patient underwent surgery at Rhode Island Hospital on August 4. While details concerning the operation in itself were scarce, diagnostic imagining conducted two days later revealed that a portion of a drill bit had been left inside the patient’s body.

The surgical drill bit was removed that day, August 6. Additionally, the physician and operating room staff were suspended. The hospital would not identify the employees involved, nor would it confirm how many staff members faced disciplinary action in connection with the incident.

Rhode Island Hospital issued a statement, which included some of the following:

“A small piece of a drill bit used during a procedure broke off and was not accounted for at the end of the procedure, as is required by one of our policies… As with any unanticipated outcome, we have apologized to the patient and have conducted a full investigation.”

Reports also noted that the state Department of Health has investigated Rhode Island Hospital for several incidents, including five wrong-site operations since January 2007.

The Department of Health even assessed $150,000 in penalties against the hospital after a doctor performed a surgical procedure on the wrong finger of a patient. The hospital has since been forced to “install cameras in operating rooms and retrain surgery staff”.

The health department’s investigation is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

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