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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Surgeons leave sponge in woman's body

Surgeons leave sponge in woman's body

ACambodian woman living in Malaysia carried a 12-centimeter sponge and a length of

cotton tape in her stomach for five months after a carelessly performed childbirth


Sar Daravy, 51, the mother of 33-year-old Mariam Haron, whose original name is Keo

Rasmey, said her daughter delivered her eighth child by way of a caesarean section

at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang province about 35 km from Kuala Lumpur

on June 15 last year. After the operation the attending physicians simply forgot

to take out a towel and cottons from her insides.

Daravy, who is also chairwoman of a newly formed Khmer Social Development Organization,

said that two days after the caesarean the doctor permitted Haron to return home

from the hospital. She immediately began reporting pain in her stomach. But when

she returned to the doctor she was told that she might have developed a blood clot

and was prescribed some pain relief medication.

"This kind of caesarean on my daughter is not good - it was careless of those

doctors," said Daravy "They have to take responsibility for my daughter's


She said that a week after the operation Haron told her that stomach pain prevented

her from working. According to Daravy, her daughter's health remains poor.

On November 16, Daravy took her daughter for x-rays at another hospital in Seremban

province 80 km from Klang province. After x-rays, a local doctor decided to operate,

Daravy said.

"It is very dangerous for a lady to have two operations in such a short period,"

she said.

On December 6, she filed a complaint with Malaysian authorities seeking compensation

for her daughter, who was unable to work or pay for ongoing treatments.

Haron married a Muslim in Malaysia and has been living there since 1987. She and

her family sell clothes at a night market in Klang province.

Magat Hisman, first secretary of the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh, said the embassy

does not have the mandate to comment on newspaper reports regarding social matters.

Reid Sheftall, director of the American Medical Center in Phnom Penh and a specialist

in general and plastic surgery, said that before and after an operation doctors must

count all the instruments on the operating table to make sure none are missing.

Sheftall said that if a count is wrong, hospital staff will x-ray the patient to

see if something has been left inside.

According to Sheftall, when a sponge remains inside someone it can harbor bacteria

and cause serious infection sometimes resulting in death.

"This happens every where in the world, but it is more common in Asia because

the medical standard here is less," Sheftall said. "It is a mistake that

is very rare but it does happen."



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