A German surgeon is in trouble for leaving 16 items in a patient who came in for what was supposed to be a routine operation. The man later died, and his family is suing the hospital.

In 2009, Dick Schroeder, 74, checked in to a hospital in Hanover, Germany, for what was supposed to be a standard prostate cancer procedure, reports the Daily Mail. Doctors told Schroeder he should be able to live for another six years, but shortly afterward, Schroeder reported intense pain that forced him into another hospital visit. A simple home visit by the nurse led to the shocking truth behind Schroeder’s pain.

The nurse discovered a gauze pad protruding from the wound area, notes ninemsn. It took two more surgeries to remove all 16 items left behind by the surgeon. Among the 16 items found within Schroeder’s body were a needle, a six-inch bandage, a compress, cotton swabs and a part of a surgical mask.

The operation was a success and Schroeder was able to live another three years after the surgical blunder before his cancer spread to other parts of his body, causing his death in 2012.

The family is suing the hospital for $120,000 for the negligence, but the hospital is claiming the 16 items were not left by a surgeon, reports Daily Mail. The hospital claims the foreign objects entered Schroeder’s body after the operation, although they did not explain how.

Annette Corinth, the family’s lawyer, said, “I hope the hospital will settle, but otherwise the family are prepared to go all the way and sue in court. The family of the deceased spent lots of money on care, medicines and reconstruction of their home to look after this man.”