Lawsuit states scalpel left inside CT veteran for 4 years

A lawsuit states that a scalpel was left inside 61-year-old United States Army veteran Glenford Turner for four years. (Faxon Law Group)

A malpractice lawsuit has been filed against the United States of America after a surgeon at a Connecticut hospital was accused of leaving a scalpel inside a veteran's body.

Faxon Law Group filed the lawsuit on behalf of 61-year-old United States Army veteran Glenford Turner. The law firm said Turner, who lives in Bridgeport, went for an MRI scheduled at VA Connecticut Healthcare System on the West Haven Campus.

According to Faxon Law Group, Turner was "experiencing a recent episode of dizziness and long-term abdominal pains." During the imaging study, Turner "began to experience severe, worsened abdominal pain" and the procedure had to be stopped.

An X-ray taken that day showed "an abandoned scalpel" inside of Turner. The scalpel knife was used during a radical prostatectomy performed four years earlier at the West Haven VA hospital. The scalpel was removed from Turner's body, which was near his stomach and intestines, during a surgery in April 2017.

"It is shocking that in return for that service the VA thanked him by deploying a rookie surgical trainee to perform the surgery who showed an incomprehensible level of incompetence by losing the scalpel in Mr. Turner's abdomen and not bothering to find it. He just sewed him up and moved on to his next victim,” New Haven attorney Joel T. Faxon said in a statement on Monday.

Faxon said its's "unconscionable that any hospital—particularly one serving our United States' veterans—would be so haphazard in the care they provide."

"The VA's low standard of care has been the subject of much discussion lately, but this is a new low," Faxon said. "Better care can be had at a veterinary hospital. They should be ashamed of themselves.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he was "appalled and stunned" by allegations of "this egregious medical malpractice case involving the West Haven VA."

"While the court determines liability, I have asked for a detailed explanation from VA of this deeply troubling report. I am demanding also full accountability so this kind of horrific negligence never happens again," Blumenthal said in a statement on Monday. "America owes our veterans the world’s best medical care, nothing less.”

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