New Zealand Woman Shocked to Find Big Surgical Swab Left Inside Body After Giving Birth

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A newborn baby waits for attention at Lima's maternity hospital, May 8, 2014.
A newborn baby waits for attention at Lima's maternity hospital, May 8, 2014. REUTERS/ Mariana Bazo REUTERS/ Mariana Bazo

A New Zealand woman was shocked to discover that doctors had left a surgical swab half the size of her hand insider her body for 11 days after giving birth to her baby in Wellington Hospital.

The 28-year-old mom, Theresa Nguyen, from Wellington described her "painful" experience of having a big swab left inside her body. After two weeks, doctors were able to remove the swab with forceps.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, Nguyen gave birth to her first child on June 19 which she and her husband Tomi named Quynh after a Vietnamese tradition. Since the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck, a specialist was needed to deliver the baby via suction cup. This delivery method left Nguyen with perineum tearing.

The doctor used surgical swabs to soak up the excess blood and stitched her up before leaving. Nguyen said the doctor may have forgotten to count the number of swabs he used. She was not aware of anything wrong since she spent two days in the hospital and another two days in the delivery room. She was also on painkillers and did not notice anything unusual.

It was only when she went home and the medication had worn off that she felt something was wrong. She felt a "stabbing pain" and described the feeling as "something was digging inside me."

She said she could not climb the stairs or sit down without feeling the pain. She was experiencing difficulty with getting up at night to feed the baby.

Nguyen made an appointment to see her local doctor after two weeks of giving birth. She was hesitant to have it checked since she thought the pain was normal. She even asked a friend who said her body took a month to recover.

When Nguyen went to the hospital, the doctor conducted an internal examination and initially thought she had a "big white cyst." Another doctor was called to get a second opinion and he said she had something stuck inside her.

Doctors were able to remove the surgical swab with forceps. Nguyen described the experience as "really painful" and said it was like a "mini-birth" without contractions. She saw the surgical swab that was bigger than half of her hand. She said she was terrified by what she saw.

Nguyen was given strong antibiotics as she waits for test results to make sure she has not contracted an infection.

Two senior staff members of the Wellington hospital had apologised to her. She accepted the apology and said she did not blame the doctor since he may be "under too much pressure" during that time. 

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