Foreign object left in my shoulder

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Foreign object left in my shoulder

I just had a slap repair on my right
shoulder. I awoke in recovery to a portable
xray machine. Once out of recovery my surgeon
told me that a 3mm piece of a needle tip had
broken off during the surgery but he was
unable to find it. It showed up on the xray
and he just laughed it off and told me it’s
no big deal and nothing to worry about. I am
concerned that it could travel and cause me
problems down the road. Do I have the right
to make him go back in and take it out and
does this kind of situation warrant having
attorney… Any advice would be greatly

Asked on April 16, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You can't force *him* to take it out, if he won't. You can have another surgeon take it out and try to bill the first surgeon. If he won't pay you voluntarily, in theory you could sue him, but it would likely not be worthwhile unless you end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for the surgery: to recover money, you'd have to show that 1) the needle tip needed to be removed--that it was not wholly harmless--which means hiring a medical expert/doctor to testify in court; and 2) you can only recover your out-of-pocket cost of any such surgery. Therefore, if you have it removed, unless you have a large out-of-pocket bill, it may not be worthwhile.
If you don't remove it, if it does later cause you trouble, you *may* have a malpractice suit for any injuries, harm, or later medical costs you incur: it depends on the circumstances and how long after this procedure any harm  incurs. It is recommended however, that you look to your health first, rather than strategizing about what may give you a potential lawsuit later.
You can also file a complaint against this surgeon with the state medical licensing board.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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