Jury Finds for Physician in Broken Needle Lawsuit despite Off-Label Use

May 2, 2014 | Physician Practice News

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​A Philadelphia jury has issued a verdict in favor of a physician who performed a biopsy using a needle for an "off-label" purpose, settling allegations brought by a patient who believes she was wrongfully injured by the physician, according to an article published April 21, 2014, in the Legal Intelligencer. In May 2010, the patient underwent a biopsy of a lesion on her lumbar spine that was performed by the defendant interventional radiologist. The patient had undergone treatment for breast cancer, and the lesion was thought to be cancer that had metastasized to her spine. The physician first attempted the biopsy with a 17-gauge guiding needle covering an 18-gauge biopsy needle but was unable to insert the needle because of what he described in court documents as "dense bone." After the physician determined that he could not perform the biopsy with the initial needle, he switched to a 20-gauge biopsy needle to be used with the original guiding needle. He later inserted another biopsy needle with the same guiding needle to retrieve a better sample. When the needle was removed, he recognized that part of the guiding needle remained in the patient.

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