X-ray of the surgical instrument inside Zdenka Kopeckova.

It took five long months for a Czech woman to discover the reason for her pain: doctors had left a medical tool inside her abdomen.

This month, doctors at a clinic in the southeastern town of Ivancice discovered their colleagues had forgotten to remove a spatula-like surgical instrument from the woman following gynecological surgery in September. The tool was a third of a metre long.

Top regional official Michal Hasek apologized to Zdenka Kopeckova, 66, and said Monday that the region, which is in charge of the clinic, plans to compensate her.

Clinic head Jaromir Hrubes blamed "a series of individual failures" and said four employees had been punished.

CT24 news television in Prague reported that the woman, who complained repeatedly to her doctors about the pain, plans to sue.