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Retained Suture Needle in Pelvis for 10 Years

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In 2003, I had a hysterectomy (cervix and uterus only) with no issues and was back to work in six weeks. This was at a hospital in New Hampshire.

A couple of months ago, through an x-ray of my spine (myelogram), the radiologist discoved a 1 1/2 inch suture needle in my pelvis. It was adjacent to where my left ovary should have been, as my tubes and ovaries were removed about eight months ago due to large ovarian cysts. My appendix was removed also about a month prior. These two surgeries took place in Tennessee, where I currently reside.

I have not had any direct pain from the needle, to my knowledge, One month ago, I had my appendix surgeon remove the needle, as I did not want to leave it there. It had kind of grown onto my pelvic sidewall. Since there were no complications from the needle, I assumed I had no recourse as to filing a claim for damages (medical bills, missed work, etc. - I did have some sciatic type issues arise in my buttock, hip, leg following these two surgeries eight months ago)

I've spoken with a few lawyers but they've said without any permenant injury, it's probably not worth the trouble. Yet I continue to read about how the "retained needle is considered the injury itself" and the surgery to remove it as possible damages.

My Primary Care doctor says the needle being there could have definately caused the sciatic issues but the surgeons (in TN) are pretty much non-commital.

Any thoughts?

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Sorry, but "could have" is not the same as "definately." They are mutually exclusive.

Sciatica can be caused by a lot of things, including just age. If you cannot prove (not just "could have") that there was a direct cause and effect between the needle and the sciatica, then the sciatica is not compensible.

The needle might be the "injury" but you haven't suffered any provable medical harm and have basically no monetary damages except the cost for the removal.

If you can't find a lawyer to handle it on a contingency, then your options are to pay a lawyer up front for his work, or sue in small claims court without a lawyer.

In NH the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of discovery of the foreign object in your body.

If your case is worth anything at all it's going to be a pittance.

But there's an advantage to that. Medical Malpractice insurance often comes with a liability deductible where the doctors have to pay small claims out of their pocket. Once sued, the doctor might find it expedient to pay you some go-away money instead of having to take time away from his profession to handle litigation at that level. No guarantees there, but it might be worth a shot.

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