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PA Jury Finds Doctor Not Liable in Broken Needle Case

We all understand that medical procedures always involve a certain amount of risk.  However, for the most part the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks involved.  Unfortunately, personal injury can occur during a medical procedure due to a defective medical product or medical malpractice on the part of the doctor or hospital staff.  A recent personal injury case out of Philadelphia County involved the alleged misuse of a specific type of needle used on a patient during a biopsy procedure.

Earlier this month a Philadelphia jury found in favor of a doctor who was sued by his patient after the needle he was using during a biopsy broke off in the patient's back.  The patient underwent an additional surgery to remove the portion of the broken needle.  Sadly, to this day the patient still endures lingering pain and movement restrictions.  

The patient argued at trial that the doctor should be held liable for injury because he improperly used a needle only meant to be used on soft tissue and never meant by the manufacturer to be driven into bone.  The doctor's defense team argued that the doctors set the standards in the medical community not the manufacturers of medical products.  The defense presented evidence that there are many medical products that are used for "off label" purposes.  In the end the jury agreed with the defense's arguments.

This case is just one example of how personal injury can occur during a routine medical procedure.  This case also shows the uncertainty of trial.

Source:  "Phila. Jury Sides With Defense in Broken Needle Case," by Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer, April 21, 2014.

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