Gaetan Barrette is urging patients to not lose confidence in the health system after a medical instrument 33 centimetres long was forgotten inside a woman who had a hysterectomy at a Montreal hospital last March.

Health Minister Barrette is blaming human error on the shocking medical incident.

Sylvie Dube was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last October and underwent chemotherapy over the winter before the hysterectomy at Notre-Dame Hospital March 14.

Dube complained of pain the day after the operation -- not in the abdomen, but in a shoulder. She said her doctor and nurses at Notre-Dame Hospital told her it was normal a hysterectomy would cause pain elsewhere in her body.

But the pain continued to increase in the following weeks and Dube was given anti-inflammatory medication.

Two months later on May 22, after multiple shots of cortisone and still no relief, she went to the hospital's emergency room and was told a scan had found a metal plate.

The medical report indicated a "flexible blade," 33 centimetres long used in surgery to protect the organs, had been left inside her abdomen during her surgery in March.

This, despite a procedure by staff in the operating room counting each piece of equipment and instrument used before and after an operation.

Dube has launched a complaint with the hospital asking them to add additional checks to that procedure.

“We have professional staff, we have surgeons and all these people didn’t see this thing? It’s not a little thing,” she said.

CHUM has changed how its medical equipment is counted.

The hospital has also apologized to her and said it is investigating. 

Dube hasn't decided if she will take legal action yet, but said she is relieved she's pain free and wants to focus on her health.