Last Friday Anne, who lives in the French city of Lyon, suffered violent pains and a violent fit of coughing.
“I felt as if my stomach was being torn open and I discovered a piece of steel poking out of my belly button,” she told the media.
But when she called the clinic where she had undergone an operation six months earlier, she was told that, since they had been there so long, another 24 hours would not ruin her life.
A scan at a different clinic revealed a pair of forceps of about 10 cm in length apparently left after the operation.
But she says that it took a call from her lawyer to obtain an operation the following Monday afternoon.
And, she says, even then the surgeon tried to laugh off the matter, telling her that she did not have to pay for the operation because it was a Valentine’s Day present and declaring, “Lucky that this has happened at the end of my career.”
Anne says that what she finds most shocking is that she was treated “as a customer not as a patient”.
Her lawyer is considering legal action against the surgeon.
Such cases are rare but not previously unknown.
In 2005 a surgeon in Brittany had to pay compensation to a patient who became handicapped after he left a compress inside her during an operation.