Great Yarmouth mum tells of horror after swab left inside her following op at James Paget Hospital

A MOTHER has spoken of her horror after a swab was left inside her for four months after an operation.

Karen Woolock, 49, went to the James Paget Hospital in June 2009 for a gynaecological operation.

But four months later, she felt a strange sensation as she went to the toilet and passed the swab, which was the size and shape of an egg.

'The operation went fine,' she said. 'I was discharged and had to go back for a check-up six weeks later and the nurse didn't see it.

'The scary thing was when I passed it. I was on the toilet and it was like I had laid an egg. I wondered what was happening to me. It didn't hurt. It was just an experience - a bit like the final part of having a baby.'

'I called the hospital and they got me back into surgery as soon as possible.'

Karen, who works as a carer, did not make a formal complaint.

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'They took it very seriously and they were really sorry. I thought it was something which didn't happen very often and I am not one for causing a hassle - I was surprised when I saw the report in the paper that it was still going on.'

The hospital sent Karen a copy of the report which detailed how her incident was being investigated.

'The report which they sent me described it as a serious untoward incident,' said the mother-of-two, who lives in St Nicholas Road in Great Yarmouth.

'It shouldn't have happened but it does make you wonder how many people it has happened to. The scary thing was that it had been in there for so long, even though I had been back for my check-up.'

In a statement from the Paget, director of nursing Tina Cookson said: 'Patient confidentiality requires that we do not discuss individual patients in detail. However, this matter was fully investigated in 2009 and the recommendations identified were implemented at the time.

'As reported in the media recently, all events are reviewed to ensure our systems and processes are robust. Steps have also been taken to increase awareness and to provide further training to staff to prevent further occurrences.'

The hospital is currently investigating two 'never events' where patients have been discharged with swabs inside them since April this year.

Never events were introduced by the Department of Health in March 2010. The list consisted of eight events including the retention of a foreign object post-operation, escape of a transferred prisoner and wrong site surgery. A revised list containing 25 never events was published in February 2011. New additions included using the wrong implant or prosthesis, entrapment in bed rails and severe scalding of patients.

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