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Appellate Court Rules Man Can Sue Hospital Over ‘Excruciating’ Catheter Mishap

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — An appellate panel reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed against South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach by a man who claimed he suffered “excruciating pain and trauma” when a worker tripped on a hose, yanking a catheter from his penis.

Gregory Harry, a quadriplegic who was being treated at the medical center in June 2009, relied on catheters to urinate because of his paralysis. A custodial worker tripped over a hose connected to the catheter in Harry’s hospital room.

Harry had to summon a nurse after the accident caused him to pass blood and tissue, according to the ruling from the three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal.

The nurse gave him pain medication and made several unsuccessful attempts to reinsert the catheter, according to the ruling. Ultimately, the nurse summoned a urologist, who was able to insert a new catheter.

Harry’s negligence lawsuit alleges he suffered “excruciating pain and trauma, permanent injury and loss of functionality,” and that the mishap worsened his problems with incontinence.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Franz Miller granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the medical center’s attorneys, who cited experts who said the incident did not fall below the standard of care.

The appellate justices cited the difference of opinions from various experts as a reason the case should not be dismissed.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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