In 2016, June Purtle began experiencing significant difficulties with her health. So, she did what most of us would do, and consulted a doctor. The doctor noted that it could be a Tumor. Purtle had no other choice but to undergo surgery to see what was causing her to feel so ill.

When the doctor removed a mass inside her, they discovered it wasn't anything cancerous, but rather surgical sponges, that were left over from a prior surgery nine years ago, according to

Now, she wants answers and is suing the PeaceHealth Sacred Medical Center and Dr.

David White for $1.2 million, according to the lawsuit.

Purtle's lawsuit claims back in 2007, that Dr. White performed an abdominal surgery on her, and failed to remove the sponges afterward. On top it of all, four months later, she had yet another surgery, and yet again, the medical team at PeaceHealth failed to remove or notice the surgical sponges, according to

The lawsuit says Purtle will seek $100,000 for medical costs and lost of income, and $1.3 million for pain and suffering. According to, the number of sponges left inside her wasn't specified

Purtle blames the hospital and Dr. White for failing to do a proper sponge count (twice) in 2007.

Woman loses part of intestine due to sponge left inside of her

June Purtle's case isn't unique, a California woman, Carol Critchfield, suffered the same fate, if not worse.

Back in 2007, Critchfield underwent a standard hysterectomy and bladder support surgery at Simi Valley Hospital, in California, according to CBSLA.

What happened three years later left her without a portion of her intestinal tube.

It began when Critchfield complained of feeling weak and ill. She went to the hospital, and the hospital took an X-ray but passed her down as uncritical, claiming that her condition was likely constipation, according to CBSLA.

Her conditions grew worse including bleeding. She went to see her gynecologist, and according to CBSLA, her gynecologist suspected an ovarian cyst.

While removing this alleged cyst, the doctor found a surgical sponge was still inside her.

The surgeon informed her husband, that her intestine had a sponge that was encased in scar tissue, forcing them to remove a portion of her intestine.

After finding this out, Critchfield told CBSLA, that she decided to file a lawsuit against the hospital, the doctors involved in her case, and the radiologists. Subsequently, according to CBSLA, Simi Valley Hospital was fined $25,000 for their malpractice by the State Department of Public Health. Furthermore, they were fined $50,000 for leaving an 8-inch surgical clamp inside a different patient.

Every year, it is estimated, that 1,500 patients have medical objects left inside them after a surgery, according to a Loyola University Health System study.

These occurrences can present serious health-care risks when they go unnoticed, such as the above cases. 16 deaths have been reported from undiscovered retained surgical instruments, according to a study done by Joint Commission.

A possible solution?

According to, Loyola University is implementing a technology that would work like a grocery store checkout system. The sponge would have a bar code attached to the sponge, which would be heat sealed, so it doesn't detach during the surgery.

These sponges with bar codes would be scanned in by a device to obtain a count. The patient's identification number and the badge number of the surgeon will be scanned into the counter device prior to the procedure.

These counters would be equipped with color screens, that allow visual and audio cues that would tell the person keeping count when the sponge has been scanned in, when the sponge has been scanned out, when a sponge is accidentally counted twice, and when a sponge is missing. Therefore, this idea would reduce the chances of surgical objects being left inside a patient, according to

Could this be the answer to the problem hospital's are having with surgical tools being left inside patients?