Nation/World

He Almost Threw In Towel Until Doctor Took It Out

Samuel Hernandez underwent surgery in 1988 because of internal bleeding. The operation stopped the bleeding but not the pain.

Hernandez went back to the surgeon in 1990. The diagnosis this time: gas.

In 1993, Hernandez, a social worker, went to another doctor, who X-rayed his stomach.

The source of Hernandez’s pain for the past five years? A surgical towel that had been left inside his abdomen. The doctor removed the towel.

Hernandez sued the original surgeon and the hospital for unspecified damages, alleging negligence and claiming the number of towels used in the 1988 procedure was deliberately misrepresented in the operating room notes.

But by the time the suit was filed, the state’s four-year statute of limitations had run out. A judge threw the case out.

Last week, however, a state Court of Appeal reinstated the lawsuit.

The court ruled that Hernandez, 29, deserved an extension because he alleged the hospital employees kept him from discovering the source of his problem.



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