Medical instrument left inside Quebec woman after cancer surgery

Quebec's health minister is blaming human error after a medical instrument 33 centimetres long was forgotten inside a woman who had a hysterectomy at a Montreal hospital last March.

But Gaetan Barrette is urging patients to not lose confidence in the health system.

Sylvie Dube tells Radio-Canada she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last October and underwent chemotherapy over the winter before the hysterectomy March 14.

Dube complained of pain the day after the operation — not in the abdomen but in a shoulder. Her doctor and nurses at Notre-Dame Hospital told her it was normal a hysterectomy would cause pain elsewhere in her body.

But the pain continued to increase in the following weeks and Dube was given anti-inflammatory medication.

Discouraged, she went to the hospital's emergency room on May 22 and was told a scan had found a metal plate. The medical report indicated a ``flexible blade'', 33-centimetres long, had been left inside her abdomen during her surgery in March.