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​Unintentional punctures or lacerations during surgical or medical procedures may cause unintended injuries or death. With appropriate interventions and appropriate reporting and related learning, such incidents may be reduced or prevented. Effective communication with patients and their families, including disclosure discussions when injuries occur is an important aspect of improvement efforts for safer surgical care (Lefebvre et al., 2018).

Patient Stories

Felecia Gerardi: No one would listen!!

 Connecticut Center for Patient Safety

"…following a routine laparoscopic hysterectomy, I knew there was a problem. A very disgusting odor discharge was coming out my body. No tests were ordered and I was catheterized three days after the initial surgery. Dr McDonnell who performed my surgery knew that I was still in the hospital but didn't come to see me till Tuesday. She called in a Urologist who discovered I had a severed right ureter. I was brought to the O.R. opened up he discovered pus pockets in my abdomen. I could not be repaired at this time so he had a tube placed in my right kidney to drain the urine.

I was getting sicker and sicker. I kept asking why am I still leaking stuff and why is it green? Could I have an intestinal leak? My doctor and others brought in on my case treated me as if I were crazy. Finally eight or nine days later when I tried to eat a piece of food it came out clumpy green stuff. I insisted on being tested; looked like feces to me. Only then did they test me and I was right - there were two holes in my small intestine.

I was in the fight for my life. What was supposed to be a one-day surgery had become 30 days hospitalized; tubes, and bags for five months and several more repair surgeries were required. I still have chronic pain from a large piece of mesh that had to be put into my abdomen from developing a surgical hernia, and I have a lot of fear of ending up back in the hospital. I've already been back for an obstruction in my bowel because of scar tissue from all my repair surgeries which can happen again. This experience has given me a determination to work for patients' voices to be heard!!" (Connecticut Center for Patient Safety, n.d.).