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Jacksonville Woman Alleges Malpractice after Doctors Find Needle in Her Spine


A Jacksonville woman, who is also the wife of a retired Navy veteran, has alleged medical malpractice against the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. She claims that while under anesthesia, part of a needle broke off in her spine 14 years prior when her first son was born. No one notified her about the needle when it happened.

The woman had reported chronic pain for the better part of the last 14 years, but doctors could not figure out what the source of the pain was. In November of 2017, doctors at San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center found the needle after conducting a CT scan. The scan revealed a 3 cm needle lodged in her spine. It had caused permanent nerve damage.

Doctors are concerned that removing the needle could result in permanent paralysis and consider the operation too risky. The needle has been there so long that it has become fused with the bone.

The incident is believed to have occurred when the woman was administered a spinal anesthetic during the birth of her son. She is accusing the hospital of failing to properly administer the anesthesia, medical negligence, and then failing to report the mistake when it occurred.

Did the Hospital Cover Up the Mistake? 

Because this occurred on a naval base, it is governed by Federal law.  One question that looms over the case is whether or not the hospital engaged in an attempt to cover up the incident. The procedure involves inserting the needle into the spinal canal and injecting the anesthetic. In this woman’s case, the needle was jammed into the vertebrae and through the spinal canal. The woman’s lawyer alleges that the individual responsible for injecting the anesthetic must have known that the needle had broken, and instead of reporting it, did and said nothing. The needles for this procedure are 9 cm long, and a third of the needle was found in the woman’s spine. This leads her lawyer to conclude that in all likelihood, not only was the individual responsible for the broken needle involved in covering up the incident, but other hospital staff may have participated as well, including hospital administrators.

This is significant because the normal statute of limitations for a Federal medical malpractice claim is two years.  This means you cannot bring a medical negligence claim against the Federal Government after two years from the time you knew or should have known about the claim.  However, if the potential defendant attempted to conceal the alleged wrongdoing, time does not begin to run until the injured person discovers the basis of the lawsuit.

The woman says that she has a constant pain in her leg and a burning sensation in her lower back which makes it difficult for her to fall asleep. The problem has been further complicated by misdiagnoses of the source of the pain.

Our Attorneys Can Help You Today

If you have been the victim of medical negligence, then you need a lawyer that is going to fight for you.  Contact Palmer | Lopez today and we will begin discussing your case right away.


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