Most 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