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Piece of drill bit left in RI hospital patient

October 14, 2010

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A surgeon and other staff have been suspended and public health officials have launched an investigation after a piece of a surgical drill bit was left inside a patient's head following a procedure at Rhode Island Hospital.

The hospital says a roughly quarter-inch long piece broke off and was left in a patient's scalp during neurosurgery on Aug. 4.

The piece was discovered and removed on Aug. 6 "without incident" according to the hospital, and the incident was reported to the state Department of Health.

WPRI-TV reports that the hospital suspended the doctor and operating room staff. Their names were not released.

A Health Department spokesman confirmed the investigation.

The hospital was fined $50,000 after brain surgeons operated on the wrong part of the heads of three patients in 2007.

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