Army vet says VA hospital left scalpel inside his abdomen after 2013 surgery

Glenford Turner, 61, is suing the VA in U.S. District Court.

— -- An Army veteran from Connecticut is suing the VA in U.S. District Court after a scalpel was found inside him from a surgery four years earlier, the law firm representing the vet said on Monday.

Glenford Turner, 61, went to a West Haven hospital on March 29 of last year because he was suffering from dizziness as well as long-term abdominal pain, the Faxon Law Group said in a press release.

Doctors attempted to perform an MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field to produce an image from inside the body, on Turner, but it was "abruptly halted" after he complained of severe abdominal pain, according to the press release. A subsequent X-ray showed the scalpel inside Turner's body, the press release states.

Doctors confirmed it was an instrument left during a radical prostatectomy performed on Turner at the West Haven VA hospital in 2013, according to the law firm.

In April 2017, Turner underwent another surgery to successfully have the scalpel removed from near his stomach and intestines, the law firm said.

"Mr. Turner served our country proudly for decades," Turner's attorney, Joel Faxon, said in a statement. "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."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., who is on the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, released a statement on Monday saying he was "appalled and stunned by allegations of this egregious medical malpractice case."

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

The VA said it does not typically comment on pending litigation.

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