Jury Awards $250,000 to Man Who Had Retractor Left in His Body After Operation at Palomar Medical Center
A San Diego jury yesterday awarded $250,000 to a man who spent 17 days with a 14-inch-long metal retractor inside his body after doctors at Palomar Medical Center forgot to remove it, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. In September 2000, 47-year-old Dan Jennings underwent surgery, performed by Palomar Drs. Fred Hammill and Paul Polishuk, to correct an abnormality between his bowel and bladder. Two weeks later, Jennings was still suffering from "great pain," and an X-ray of his midsection revealed a 14-inch-by-two-inch metal retractor stuck between his stomach and chest. Hammill and Polishuk removed the instrument the next day. Jennings sued the two doctors and the hospital for $4 million, claiming that the retractor had caused a "serious infection that left him unable to work." But because of rulings by Judge Sheridan Reed during the trial about whether the retractor caused the infection, the jury was limited by state medical-malpractice law to awarding Jennings no more than $250,000 in damages (Jones, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.