Pain Clinic Leaves Hypodermic Needle In Back Of Patient For Seven Years

220px-syringe_and_hypodermicMost people go to pain clinics with the understanding that they are for the relieving rather than the causing of pain. However, Claudia Ball found out the hard way that that is not always true after being treated at the Breakthrough Pain Relief Clinic in Chesterfield. A jury found this week that Dr. Catherine Doty and the Allied Physicians Group LLC left a hypodermic needle in her back for nearly seven years and awarded Ball $507,000 in damages.

Dr. Doty embedded a 1½-inch needle in Ball’s back during a trigger point injection treatment in December 2009. She was 62 at the time and continued to feel pain. What is incredible is that it is still in her back. There have been five attempts to remove the needle without success and now the needle has migrated six inches toward her buttocks.

The entire trial lasted four days. It is hard to imagine the defense to malpractice when a woman still have a hypodermic needle in her back. Indeed this would seem an excellent case for res ipsa loquitur. As Dean Prosser explained, the doctrine is used when “(1) the accident must be of a kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of someone’s negligence; (2) it must be caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive control of the defendant; (3) it must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the plaintiff.”

What do you think?

Kudos: Professor Roger E. Schechter

11 thoughts on “Pain Clinic Leaves Hypodermic Needle In Back Of Patient For Seven Years

  1. As I said in another post, there is a real shortage of highly skilled, well-trained pain management specialists in this country. Did this doctor not notice that the needle had broken off? I doubt it.

    This “clinic” has since closed.

    Put these folks together with a couple of those compounding pharmacies and you could have a real party. And people complain about alternative medicine!

    • phillyT –

      Compounding pharmacies are not the shysters your comment would imply, nor do they have any relevance to ambulance-chasing pain clinics.

      I access a properly licensed compounding pharmacy via For $100/year, I receive a high-quality, accurately prepared, analytically-verified, generic substitute for a brand-name product costing $1,000 or more at a local brick-and-mortar pharmacy.

      WHEN – not ‘if’ – you experience pain and other medical problems I do (which you would already know about from my comments on other JT threads), you will eagerly seek out, and gratefully thank, alternative medical providers for cost-effective relief.

      (Full disclosure: is a 501c, and I have no pecuniary interest in it).

  2. Why did this go to trial? Disagreement over damages?

    Poor lady. I wonder if it’s too close to her nerve to get it out, and how much scar tissue all those repeated attempts have created.

    An MRI would get that right out, though. (But I don’t recommend that as a method of extraction!)

  3. There have been five attempts to remove the needle without success and now the needle has migrated six inches toward her buttocks.

    Ball ought to hire a competent surgeon (or her lawyer needs to stop lying to reporters).

  4. Unfortunately from my experience far too many of these “pain clinics” depend on making money rather than focusing on patient’s well-being. I would urge people to not seek “care” from them – sanctified drug / procedure pushers. Glad this woman received compensation for the horror she endured.

  5. She farted and that caused the needle to break off. She knew she was at risk when she went to any doctor. The judgment is excessive. She is old. Forget about her. Move on. Ask Trump to comment on this. Hillary would probably approve the judgment.

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