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Family Sues Government After C-Section Retractor Left Inside Mother

— November 3, 2021

Servicemember and his wife sue the U.S. government after a Navy hospital leaves a C-section instrument inside the new mom.

As the wife of an active duty servicemember, Ashley M. Goldsborough gave birth to her son, Weston, by an emergency Cesarean section (C-section) at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on August 11, 2018.  During the procedure, the medical team left an instrument inside the new mom which wasn’t discovered until months later.  Now, Goldsborough and her family have filed a lawsuit against the United States government in the amount of $19.5 million. The civil lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Guam, accuses the team who attended to Goldsborough left an Alexis retractor in her abdomen, a tool commonly used during C-sections.  A report following the procedure was signed by the family’s OB/GYN who indicated that an x-ray confirmed that there were no foreign objects in her body.

The lawsuit alleges “government employees and agents deviated from standard approved medical practices and negligently failed to treat Ashley with the degree of skill, diligence, and attention used by and expected of such facilities and hospitals generally.”

On Sept. 25, 2018, the new mom had her six-week postpartum appointment, at which, according to the sute, “there were no indications of abnormalities and the Cesarean incision appeared to be healing well.”

Family Sues Government After C-Section Retractor Left Inside Mother
Photo by Павел Сорокин from Pexels

Until November of that year, Goldsborough appeared to be recovering just fine, but she then began to have severe discomfort and was unable to be positioned on her side.  “Over the next few weeks, Goldsborough began to notice swelling in her legs and went to Naval Hospital’s emergency room on Nov. 10, 2018, for an evaluation,” documents state. “A Doppler ultrasound did not reveal or alert medical personnel to the fact that the device had been left in her abdomen.  No abdominal X-rays were performed during that visit or the next visit to the emergency room on Nov. 22, 2018.”

Gradually, Goldsborough’s legs became more swollen, and her abdomen became more distended.  Where it had been stitched, blisters began to form  The suit states, “On Nov. 28, 2018 – 109 days after the C-section was performed – Naval Hospital personnel saw from a CT scan that the Alexis retractor had been left in her abdomen and the following day, Goldsborough underwent surgery to have the device removed.  In the course of the surgery, Naval Hospital Guam personnel discovered that the Alexis retractor was deeply encased in adhesions to Ashley’s small intestines and colon.  At the conclusion of the surgery, Defendant’s personnel placed two Jackson-Pratt drains through the right and left lower abdominal quadrants for drainage.”

On Dec. 14, 2018, she was sent to another Naval hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, for continued care.  The suit alleges “Goldsborough was not permitted to eat food again until April 9, 2019, and Ashley was subjected to an additional surgical procedure on May 3, 2019, to close a defect on the original C-section incision.”  While she was being treated, Weston couldn’t nurse and the children were all sent to live with grandparents.

The Goldsboroughs filed a claim with the Navy Tort Claims Unit for medical malpractice.  An investigation was performed, at which time the government tried to settle the claims.  The family is seeking damages for Goldsborough’s physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering, as well as that of her husband, Kelly’s, son Weston’s, and for that of each of her other two children.


Family seeks $19.5M for alleged medical malpractice

Goldsorough v. United States of America

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