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$275K for patient with towels left inside him

CLEVELAND - An Ohio man who had two towels left in his body after surgery at a veterans hospital has won a $275,000 settlement from the federal government.

Forty-seven-year-old Robert Sanner, of New Philadelphia, didn't feel right following his May 2008 kidney cancer surgery. He made three trips back to the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland before a scan in August 2008 detected the 14-by-11-inch towels.

The Plain Dealer reports the towels were removed the next day. Sanner's lawsuit said VA hospital officials acknowledged the mistake.

Sanner's attorney, R. Craig McLaughlin, also said the hospital was hesitant to perform a third surgery needed to repair a hernia caused by the first two procedures.

Medical center spokeswoman Ashley Trimble says the episode is one reason why the hospital adopted new technology to keep track of sponges and other surgical equipment.

Sanner served as an Army mechanic in the 1980s. He declined to comment on the settlement.