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Doctor error: Woman finds epidural needle in spine after 14 years

Most new mothers anticipate the moments of leaving the hospital and returning home with their new baby. But they do not anticipate arriving home with foreign objects in their bodies as a result of doctor error. Massachusetts readers may be interested in one woman's ordeal of having an epidural needle left in her spine for more than 14 years.

The mother delivered her last child approximately 14 years ago. Like many mothers, she had a cesarean section to deliver her son. The mother received epidural anesthesia prior to the surgery but was unaware that the tip of the needle broke off into her spine in the process. An epidural requires a doctor to use a long needle to place a nerve blocking medicine into a patient's spinal fluid, but the needle is always withdrawn after placement.

The woman claims that she began having severe back pain as early as two months following her son's delivery. For years, the woman attempted to have her pain diagnosed and treated, but the needle tip was only discovered in 2017 following a CT scan. She has filed a complaint against the hospital and plans to file a lawsuit as well. According to the woman, anesthesiologists have a protocol to check the needle tip following an epidural placement. If the process was followed in her case, she claims that the doctor and hospital would have been aware of the needle in her spine.

Not only has the woman accumulated more than a decade's worth of medical expenses and pain, but she fears that the damage will result in immobility at a young age. Massachusetts patients who have suffered because of a doctor error may find solace in the advice of a medical malpractice attorney. Attorneys can advise a patient of their legal options and the possibility of obtaining compensation to help cover related medical expenses.

Source: People, "Woman Finds Epidural Needle in Her Spine 14 Years After Giving Birth: 'I'm Angry and Scared'", Char Adams, March 28, 2018

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