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News 04 Jul 17

Bosnian Hospital Left Scissors in Man’s Stomach

Mostar hospital has been ordered to compensate a former patient for leaving scissors inside him for nine years after a routine operation.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Illustration. Photo: Pixabay

Bosnia’s University Clinical Hospital in Mostar, in southwest Bosnia, will have to pay a former patient about 20,000 convertible marks - around 10,000 euros - plus interest and the costs of court proceedings, for leaving a pair of scissors in his stomach by mistake in 2003.

For nine years, the scissors traveled through the insides of the 41-years old man, first through the intestines, and then through the stomach, where they got caught. It all caused great pain.

The court ruling is an epilogue to a long-lasting court process during which it was established that Alen Papac carried surgical scissors in his body for nine years, after doctors forgot to take them out.

After a routine operation for a stomach ulcer in 2003, Papac was cleansed of his ulcer - but someone in the medical team forgot to get the scissors out of him.

“I often felt pain in the stomach. Every once in a while I stayed in hospital to treat the pain. The first time I felt the pain was a year after the first surgery, when I had to go to hospital again,” he recalled.

“However, they told me there was pancreatic inflammation. They treated me and the pain was soothed. But for almost all nine years, I've had problems with my belly almost all the time. It hurt me wherever I was touched. However, the scans did not show the scissors up because they are not actually visible in ultrasound,” Papac told Bosnian media.

The doctors only discovered the real reason for his frequent health problems in November 2012, when he was examined for a cough.

“I had an intolerable constant cough, which I could not solve at all. In the end, they X-rayed my lungs and I experienced a shock. The scissors were 12 centimeters long! These are essentially the scissors used in surgery to stop bleeding…  They basically lifted the lungs on one side and this caused me a constant cough,” he said.

All of his fears were later confirmed after another operation was carried out in the same hospital. A detailed examination showed that one of his lungs had become enlarged. The footage showed that the scissors were still stuck in his body, in the large intestine.

For a full nine years, the scissors traveled first through the small intestine and then further on.

The scissors have since been removed, but have left serious consequences for his health. Despite long-term treatment, an expert assessment has found that his life chances have been reduced by 25 per cent.

The judgment of the municipal court in Mostar is a first-instance ruling. The hospital, which has refused to comment on the case, has 30 days to file an appeal to the county court.

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