Surgeon left syringe in patient’s stomach at Santa Maria hospital

January 11, 2017
Marian Regional Medical Center

Marian Regional Medical Center

A 54-year-old woman left Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria free of a tumor that had formed in her uterus. Little did the woman know that she left the hospital with something new inside her body, a surgical syringe. [KSBY]

After the mishap, it took hospital staff a month and a half to identify and remove the bulb syringe from the women’s abdomen. In response to the incident, the California Department of Public Health levied a $28,500 fine against the Santa Maria hospital.

In April 2014, the woman underwent surgery to remove her tumor. Following the surgery, hospital staff reportedly removed and accounted for all medical instruments.

However, two weeks later, the patient visited a different surgeon and reported bruising and pain in her abdomen, as well as vaginal bleeding. The second surgeon reportedly told the woman the symptoms were part of her healing process.

During a six-week visit followup, medical workers discovered the syringe. The woman then underwent surgery to remove the device.

Officials attribute the syringe incident to miscommunication in the operating room. Marian Regional Medical Center has released a statement saying the misplacement of the syringe was an isolated incident.

“Patient care and safety are always our highest priority and we take this matter very seriously. This was an isolated incident which occurred in 2014. Since then, procedural changes put in place have been successful and no other patient has experienced this complication. We conducted a thorough investigation of this matter and have worked closely with the medical staff, patient care staff and hospital leadership to ensure that an occurrence like this does not happen again,” the statement says.




    A syringe, that sucks.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
  2. 2much says:

    “Since then, procedural changes put in place have been successful and no other patient has experienced this complication” That your willing to admit to.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. Ricky2 says:

    Another great example of what happens when inDignity Health gets into action. Note the stupid public relations spew instead of admitting error and apologizing for their own stupidity and culpability. Would it be too much for these creeps to just admit the truth? inDignity should be shut down.

    (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
  4. Pelican1 says:

    That hospital staff will endure a lot of “needling”

    (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  5. ConfedOfDunces says:

    You can’t win if you don’t play!

    (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
  6. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    Wtf!!!!?? You leave a syringe in paitient, miss it on follow up and get fined a measly 28 k?? That is messed up.

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down
    • Kidholm says:

      The patient will get a settlement for hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not >$1M, and the surgeon will be disciplined by the medical board.

      (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
      • unlisted says:

        Let’s hope the surgeon gets black listed by the insurance companies.

        (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Well thank you captain obvious. Duh. Still, the fine for a multi million dollar corporation is a slap on the wrist. Does that make it easier for you to grasp?

        (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
        • Kidholm says:

          This was a case of human error. Why should “the corporation” be penalized in addition to the malpractice payout? Yes, Dignity will be cutting a check to the patient in addition to the surgeon.

          (-2) 4 Total Votes - 1 up - 3 down
          • CentralcoastRN says:

            Because the “corporation” is making money and promising to provide a quality service. The corporation is ultimately responsible for ensure that high standards of care are maintained. That means that 1)they my hire qualified staff and keep those qualified staff trained. 2) they must ensure the doctors with privileges at the hospital are up to standard. 3) They have all the power to purchase equipment, maintain quality controls, and they choose who works in their facility.

            The corporation approves policy, so it is up the corporation to see if their policies were being followed, and if not, why? Then they need to look at updating policies and training the staff to follow them. Why? Because the hospital is OWNED BY THE CORPORATION, not the rank and file staff.

            (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
            • BeenThereDoneThat says:

              Give it up RN . He is to thick between the ears.

              (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
        • mkaney says:

          Quality incidents like this are INCREDIBLY routine (the press just usually doesn’t get a hold of them), It’s not like 1 a year, it’s like 1 a month (or in large hospitals, 1-2 a week). Cumulatively, fines like that would make it harder to practice medicine and harder to pay for quality improvement.

          (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  7. CentralcoastRN says:

    It should not have happened in 2014 or ever.

    (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
    • Kidholm says:

      You’ve never made a mistake?

      (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        I have never left a syringe in a body that could have punctured a vital organ, caused peritonitis, sepsis, etc.

        Im not perfect. I didn’t say I was. I am saying it should not happen. I don’t know what on earth happened in that OR. Gauze, equipment, item counts happen repeatedly during a surgery. Items are laid out so that they can be easily counted, and if a count is off, everything stops until the count is fixed.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
        • Kidholm says:

          You haven’t left a syringe in a body because you are a nurse, not a surgeon. I can tell by your comment that you are not an OR nurse either.

          (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down
          • CentralcoastRN says:

            OR is not my specialty.

            I am just not going to argue. It is NEVER ok to leave a sponge, a tool, a syringe in a patient. The OR is full of people with a job to do. First assistant, scrub techs, nurse, anesthesia.

            Someone made a mistake in the OR that day. They deviated from protocol. The hospital is responsible to figure out why, pay a fine for allowing this to happen, and make sure training occurs to never allow this to happen again.

            Mistakes are forgivable if they are acknowledged and learned from.

            (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • Ricky2 says:

        “Mistakes” like this cost lives. The woman was in pain and bleeding and it took how long for the inDignity dunces to figure it out? Stupidity and carelessness backed up and propelled by inDignity’s arrogance.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • 1965buick says:


        And yes, people DO make mistakes. That is why we have redundancy.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • Kidholm says:

          In this case, check lists, not redundancies.

          (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
      • BeenThereDoneThat says:

        Bet if you ever go in, you will be praying they don’t make a mistake.

        (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
        • Kidholm says:

          That is absolutely correct. Because I understand that sometimes mistakes happen.

          (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  8. Pelican1 says:

    “Following the surgery, hospital staff reportedly removed and accounted for all medical instruments.”
    Did they follow the same procedure during the second surgery?

    (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
  9. Rich in MB says:

    It was the Russians

    (12) 22 Total Votes - 17 up - 5 down
    • ironyman2000 says:

      The “Russians” remark is not clever. Not funny. Doesn’t even rise to the level of an adolescent attempt at humor.

      (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down

Comments are closed.