AN EALING hospital nurse who failed to account for a seven inch pair of forceps sewn into a patient was slammed by a misconduct panel for failing to stop the operation.
Sau Loke, 62, said she was too busy to write down the dissecting forceps had been used during the marathon procedure in Ealing Hospital.
They were eventually found with the point facing the patient's bowel after his condition 'rapidly deteriorated' and he required emergency surgery.
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel ruled Loke must have known the forceps were missing and should have stopped the operation before it finished.
Chair Laurence Peterken said: "She admitted that she carried out the final instrument check. It follows that she should have known that the pair of forceps was missing.
"It is clear from her evidence that she did nothing to stop the operation."
The un-named patient was in Ealing Hospital for surgery to his stomach on March 15, 2004.
Surgery started at 10am, Loke joined the team at 1pm and at 5pm was told to account for the instruments.
Some 15 minutes later Loke allegedly asked one of her colleagues to collect two pairs of forceps which appeared to be missing.
Loke, of West Harrow, began to look around for where they might be but neither pair could be found.
Shortly after Loke appeared with a disposal receiver which contained two sets of forceps.
But the patient's condition 'rapidly deteriorated' on March 24.
A full body scan revealed a pair of forceps inside his abdomen and the hospital launched an inquiry.
Giving evidence Loke told the panel she took over from an agency nurse assisting in the surgery but the instrument count, usually done together, was not performed.
Loke said when extra forceps were handed to the surgeon she did not write it down because she was 'too busy.'
The NMC will now have to decide if these actions amount to misconduct and if the nurse's fitness to practise is still impaired.
The hearing was adjourned until June 16.