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I was left with steel wire inside me after operation, court told


Eleanor Sheehan. Photo: Collins Courts

Eleanor Sheehan. Photo: Collins Courts


Eleanor Sheehan. Photo: Collins Courts

A WOMAN claims a four-centimetre steel wire was left inside her body after a gallbladder operation, the High Court heard.

Eleanor Curtin Sheehan (57) claimed that, as a result, she was left in pain before her wedding day and ended up in hospital during her honeymoon.

She has sued South Infirmary Victoria Hospital, Old Blackrock Road, Cork for damages claiming the wire may have come from metal used for cleaning laproscopic equipment.

The hospital denies her claims and says the metal could not have come from the surgical procedure and she may have eaten the object.

“I was devastated. I was shocked, I did not know what to think,” she told the court. “This was inside me and I had no idea.”

Her counsel said Mrs Curtin Sheehan had a gallbladder procedure in the South Infirmary in April, 2011.

More than a year later in July, 2012 she had to have surgery to remove a steel wire four centimetres long from her upper abdomen.

Dr John O’Mahony SC said a scan before the July, 2012 operation had identified a metallic object near the abdominal wall which was consistent with where the gallbladder procedure had taken place.

Counsel said experts on Mrs Curtin Sheehan’s side will say the “inescapable conclusion” is that the foreign body came about during the gallbladder operation.

Mrs Curtin Sheehan, from Holyhill, Cork has further claimed the hospital failed to properly manage or treat her during the course of the gallbladder operation and as a result she suffered severe personal injury. She says she was caused to suffer considerable abdominal pain and discomfort and had to undergo two further operations in July, 2012.

It is further alleged that the piece of metal retrieved from Mrs Curtin Sheehan’s abdomen did not resemble any recognisable surgical instrument and it may have been metal used for cleaning some of the laproscopic equipment.


The hospital denies negligence and says the piece of steel could not have got in to Mrs Curtin Sheehan during the gallbladder procedure and contends she may have accidentally eaten it.

Dr O’Mahony, opening the case, said a few months after the procedure, his client had had abdominal pain and swelling.

In May, 2012 she got married and while on honeymoon in Portugal, required admission to hospital with pain. She later went on holiday to Wales in July, 2012 but had to come home early because of pain.

She was referred to Mercy University Hospital in Cork where a hernia was diagnosed but the surgeon did not find any evidence of a hernia and ordered a scan.

Counsel said the scan showed a linear metal object in the upper abdomen and Mrs Curtin Sheehan had to have a second operation to have it removed.

In her evidence, Mrs Curtin Sheehan said she was happy-go-lucky before this but that has now all changed. “All I wanted to be was me and I am not the same person,” she said.

Under cross-examination by Majorie Farrelly SC, for the hospital, she said there was “no way” she swallowed the wire.

The case continues.