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Times of India
03 April 2009
By Santosh Andhale

The patient had suffered stomach cramps for years after her uterus was removed, but the 20cm long gauze was found only when doctors operated on her to remove her appendix
Dr. Reshma Palep holds up the piece of gauze that was removed from Bilqis Nagaria’s body
Dr. Reshma Palep holds up the piece of gauze that was removed from Bilqis Nagaria’s body
Sixty–year–old Bilqis Nagaria was already nervous when she had to go under the surgeon’s knife for an appendix removal on Tuesday. So imagine her shock when after the surgery, doctors told her that they had to remove more than just her appendix – a 20cm piece of gauze. They were draining what appeared to be a cyst in her abdominal cavity when they found the gauze, clearly left behind by a careless surgeon during the only other operation Bilqis had undergone 22 years ago.

Bilqis, a resident of Bhendi Bazar, had suffered minor stomach pain for years. She took painkillers and antacids to suppress it, but when the pain became unbearable last month, she went to her doctor, who advised a sonography. Tests revealed that her appendix was swollen and it seemed there was a cyst on one of her ovaries. She was advised immediate surgery and subsequently admitted to Balaji Hospital in Byculla.

During the operation, surgeon Dr Reshma Palep removed the appendix and found the cyst. After cleaning it, she realised that it wasn’t a cyst at all, but a piece of gauze dripping with pus. “I was confused to see the gauze after the appendix was removed as it was not a fresh piece. It was surely left behind by mistake in the patient’s abdomen years ago. The gauze was causing the severe infection,” she said.

After the surgery, Dr Palep asked Bilqis’s husband, AJ Nagaria if she’d had any previous operations. He told her that about 22 years ago, Bilqis had her uterus removed at a prominent city hospital. As he did not have any documentation from the first surgery, he said he cannot file a case against the hospital. But he is relieved that his wife is fine. “It is indeed God’s grace that there were no major complications,” he said.

Bilqis is stable and feels at ease just knowing that the root cause for her pain is gone. “It used to be unbearable at times. I already feel so much better,” she said.

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