The Army spouse offered $ 50,000 in severance pay after the towel was left in her during the caesarean section

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 / 6:02 PM CDTUpdated: 10/21/2021 / 6:02 PM CDT

File photo of the operation. (Getty Images)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, JAPAN (WTVO) – In 2013, a surgeon at Yokota Air Base, Japan, left a laparotomy towel in Angie Perry’s abdomen during a cesarean section. Eight years later, the Air Force offered her $ 50,000 to settle her medical malpractice claim.

Angie Perry of Vancouver, Washington, a former Army spouse, discovered the towel in 2018 and is demanding $ 1 million in compensation.

“I have no doubt if this towel hadn’t been found it would have killed me,” said Perry Stars and Stripes.

Perry isn’t interested in settling for the offer and wants the $ 1 million in compensation she’s asking for or nothing.

Despite the incident, Perry had an otherwise successful birth and went home with a healthy newborn. It wasn’t until five years later that she developed chronic health problems with her bladder and digestive system, which got so bad that she was forced to wear a diaper.

A subsequent CT scan showed the towel from five years earlier. Later in 2018, it was removed along with part of Perry’s small intestine.

Perry described the 2013 procedure as chaotic. According to her résumé, the surgeon who performed it has been re-trained and no longer works at the base.

The $ 50,000 settlement offer was made in a July letter to Perry of Yokota’s law firm.

“We acknowledge that a laparotomy pad was left in the abdomen, which may have caused pain,” the letter said. “Although abdominal pain is a symptom of a retained laparotomy pad, pain is subjective and Ms. Perry had no abdominal pain on October 22, 2013.”

After Perry hired a medical malpractice attorney to pursue her claim in April 2019, Perry is now seeking a new representation.

A spokesman for Yokota Air Force Base and the 374th

It was only recently that patients like Perry were able to sue the DOD for medical malpractice after a provision in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) of 2020 lifted the 70-year ban on such claims. In December 2019, then-President Trump also signed the Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act, which allowed active duty members to file medical malpractice lawsuits against the DOD.

However, the law has a two-year statute of limitations and prohibits legal action by military personnel and their families against medical bases abroad, but allows claims to be filed.

There have been a few dozen similar cases of objects left with patients in DOD hospitals, although they have been in decline since 2016.

Another patient had a similar experience as Perry’s with the exact same surgeon.

Lamia Lahlou, a former Arab linguist for the Army, also had a caesarean section from the doctor who performed Perrys in September 2019 and, like Perry, started having abdominal pain. Doctors told her it was a normal part of the recovery process.

“I was in so much pain that I thought you might misclassify my organs,” Lahlou said.

Lahlou was referred to the mental hospital after doctors told her that her pain was psychological.

“I felt like I was told I was crazy,” she said. “But I thought that maybe they were right. I thought the doctors knew better. “

Lahlou finally found out what was wrong in the U.S. later that year when a CT scan revealed she had a mass of infections and c-section cotton balls in her stomach. A 21 cm abscess and other materials were also found.

Lahlou had to undergo five surgeries and remove her bladder to resolve the problem, but this resulted in her not returning to Japan with her husband and subsequently getting a divorce.

She started filing a lawsuit in 2014 before eventually dropping it because she couldn’t find a lawyer to take it on.

Lahlou conjures others in her scenario to get to the bottom of the mistakes and laments what could have happened if she hadn’t discovered the problem sooner.

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