Gauze gaffe: Thammasat Hospital apologises for surgical slip-up

Image courtesy of Thailand Plus

Thammasat University Hospital issued an apology for leaving gauze in a patient’s vaginal cavity, explaining the cause and pledging full responsibility and support.

The hospital revealed that the incident occurred after a patient, diagnosed with endometrial cancer, received radiotherapy and brachytherapy on June 4. During the procedure, the medical team inserted a brachytherapy device and gauze roll to ensure the device remained in the correct position and to minimise radiation exposure to surrounding organs.

The patient later developed an infection, prompting a swift investigation by the hospital. The findings indicate that while the process of inserting and removing the brachytherapy device and gauze was completed, there was a failure to properly check the length of the gauze, leading to the oversight.

The hospital outlined several steps to enhance its protocols, outlining the need for strict adherence to operational standards, including recording all equipment before and after procedures, performing repeat internal examinations to check for any remnants, and a double-check system by another staff member before concluding the procedure.

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Additionally, Thammasat University Hospital also reiterated its commitment to increasing the safety of operations, highlighting possible improvements to similar operations in the future, including recording and verifying the length of the gauze before and after each procedure, and replacing standard gauze rolls with special radiopaque strips that can be detected via X-ray in case of incomplete gauze lengths.

The lapse in the approval of treatment benefits beyond the cancer treatment the patient was receiving, was attributed to an incomplete assessment. Measures have been put in place to address this issue, including educating staff and improving communication channels with the treating physicians.

Thammasat University Hospital emphasised that they have provided comprehensive information to the patient and their family regarding the incident and are committed to ensuring the patient’s recovery and well-being. The hospital has assured tight enforcement of the newly implemented measures, aiming to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in the future, reported KhaoSod.

ORIGINAL STORY: Stitched up: Thai man demands justice after surgery mishap

A Thai man is seeking justice for his mother after she nearly lost her life because a doctor at Thammasat University Hospital in Pathum Thani province near Bangkok left gauze in her womb during surgery for endometrial cancer.

The issue came to light after Esor News shared the story on Sunday, June 16. The page shared a picture of a piece of gauze that had been removed from the victim’s womb with a caption.

“A doctor left this gauze in the patient’s womb which caused an infection. The hospital finally admitted the doctor’s negligence and promised to provide the best care for the patient.”

The victim’s son, 37 year old Kwanchai, later revealed in an interview with Channel 7 that his mother underwent an examination after being diagnosed with stage I womb cancer.

She underwent brachytherapy, a form of internal radiation therapy, to address her cancer. On June 4th, radioactive pellets were inserted inside or adjacent to the tumour in her womb by the doctor.

However, her condition deteriorated, leading to a high fever. Kwanchai then returned his mother to the hospital for further treatment. He asserted that his mother was entitled to free treatment, but the hospital refused and insisted on payment.

Subsequently, Kwanchai opted to transfer his mother to a private hospital, where it became apparent that her condition was critical. The private hospital recommended returning her to Thammasat University Hospital, but she only received medication there before being discharged home.

Patient critical

Kwanchai then took his mother to Ang Thong Hospital in the central province of Ang Thong, but the doctor there urged him to return to Thammasat University Hospital.

On June 14, around 2am, Kwanchai’s mother experienced severe stomach pain. She coughed, and a piece of gauze unexpectedly came out of her vagina. She tried to pull it out, but it caused more pain. Kwanchai’s father cut off part of the gauze and rushed her to the hospital.

Kwanchai said Thammasat University Hospital initially denied his mother free treatment, which she was entitled to, and charged him 10,000 baht. He called a reporter, which forced the hospital to agree to his request.

Kwanchai criticised the hospital for waiting until there was media pressure before taking action. He blamed the doctor’s errors and negligence for almost causing him to lose his mother.

Highlighting that Thammasat University Hospital serves as both a medical facility and a training institution, Kwanchai pointed out that the doctor who treated his mother is a professor there. He demanded that the hospital and relevant authorities accept responsibility for the incident.

In his latest Facebook update, Kwanchai reported that his mother’s condition remains precarious. He also expressed disappointment that neither the doctor nor the hospital staff had apologised to him or his mother yet.

 

Thailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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