ABSTRACT The paper looks at the reason for the low reportage of retained abdominal packs following an abdominal operation in a third world country like Nigeria. It is generally agreed that this unfortunate situation is under-reported. The reason for under-reporting is now given a socio-cultural perspective. Fear of litigation does not seem to be paramount here like it would be in the western (developed) world. Other explanations like fear of being made a scapegoat for something which may be due to spiritual attacks may be more important. The paper concludes by recommending that the removal of impediments to disclosure of this adverse surgical event will lie in education, discouragement of scapegoatism and improvement in hospital services in the third world.
Cite this paper
Irabor, D. (2012) Under-reporting of gossypiboma in a third-world country. A sociocultural view. Health, 4, 56-59. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.42010.
 Stawicki, S.P., Evans, D.C., et al. (2009) Retained surgical foreign bodies: A comprehensive review of risks and preventive strategies. Scandinavian Journal of Surgery, 98, 8-17.
Hyslop, J.W. and Maull, K.I. (1982) Natural history of the retained surgical sponge. Southern Medical Journal, 75, 657-660. doi:10.1097/00007611-198206000-00006
Mefire, A.C., Tchounzou, R., et al. (2009) Retained sponge after abdominal surgery: Experience from a third world country. The Pan African Medical Journal, 2, 10.
Irabor, D.O. and Omonzejele, P.F. (2009) Local attitudes, moral obligation, customary obedience and other cultural practices: Their influences on the process of informed consent for surgery at a tertiary institution in a developing country. Developing World Bioethics 9, 34-42.
Millenson, M.L. (2002) Pushing the profession: How the news media turned patient safety into a priority. Quality and Safety Health Care, 11, 57-63.
Lupton, D. and McLean, J. (1998) Representing doctors:discourses and images in the Australian press. Social Science and Medicine, 46, 947-958.
Garg, M. and Aggarwal, A.D. (2010) A review of medicolegal consequences of Gossypiboma. Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine, 32, 358-361.
Uys, T. (2008) Rational loyalty and whistleblowing: The South African context. Current Sociology, 56, 904-921.
Perks, S. and Smith, E.E. (2008) Employee perceptions regarding whistle-blowing in the workplace: A South African perspective. South African Journal of Human Resource Management, 6, 15-24
Bamgboye, E.L. (2003) Hemodialysis: Management problems in developing countries, with Nigeria as a surrogate. Kidney International, 63, S93-95.
Ezeome, E.R. and Anarado, A.N. (2007) Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Nigeria. BMC Complementary and Alternate Medicine, 7, 28.
Pool, R. (1994) On the creation and dissolution of ethnomedical systems in the medical ethnography of Africa. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, 64, 1-20. doi:10.2307/1161092
Fadiora, S.O., Olatoke, S.A., Bello, T.O., Adeoti, M.L. and Agodirin, S.O. (2004) Intestinal obstruction from a forgotten artery forceps: A case report. West African Journal of Medicine, 23, 330-331.
Gencosmanoglu, R. and Inceoglu, R. (2003) An unusual cause of small bowel obstruction: Gossypiboma-case report. BMC Surgery, 3, 6. doi:10.1186/1471-2482-3-6
Agarwal, A.K., Bhattacharya, N., Mukherjee, R. and Bora, A.A. (2008) Intraluminal gossypiboma. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 24, 461-463.
Cima, R.C., Kollengode, A., Garnatz, J., Storsveen, A., Weisbrod, C. and Deschamps, C. (2008) Incidence and characteristics of potential and actual retained foreign object events in surgical patients. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 207, 80-87.
Nantulya, V.M. and Reich, M.R. (2002) The neglected epidemic: Road traffic injuries in developing countries. British Medical Journal, 324, 1139-1141.
Edwin, A.K. (2009) Non-disclosure of medical errors an egregious violation of ethical principles. Ghana Medical Journal, 43, 34-39.