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West Virginia Man Attempts To Sue Doctor For Scalpel Blade In Thumb, Battles Statute of Limitations

Posted on Nov 01, 2008
The Charleston Gazette and the Associated Press both reported the case of a man attempting to sue his doctor for medical malpractice for leaving a scalpel blade in his thumb during a surgery ten years ago.

The medical malpractice victim, Paul Forshey of Parkersburg, West Virginia, filed his lawsuit against his physician, Dr. Theodore Jackson of Charleston, more than 11 years after the initial surgery. However, a circuit city judge in Kanawha County ruled that the complaint be dismissed due to the 10-year statute of limitations placed on such medical malpractice cases.

Forshey has a career as a locksmith and needs his hands to work. In 1995, the man had surgery to help fix his carpel tunnel syndrome. However, after the surgery, he suffered from shooting pains, loss of grip, and numbness. He wasn't sure what was wrong until ten years later, when he injured his thumb and went in for a routine x-ray - his new doctor discovered a scalpel blade embedded in his hand.

"I almost passed out. I couldn't realize there was I think an inch-and-a-half-long blade, surgical blade in my hand and that answered a lot of my questions over the ten years," Forshey told WOWK Channell 13. "My children would grab my hand and it would put me to my knees and my daughter - being just a baby or two, three years old - she'd want to know what was wrong with my hand," he said.

"He couldn't put any kind of force on his palm and you know, he's a very hands-on type of guy and he likes to be able to do things and he always felt like he was a failure because there's something wrong with my hand but I can't figure out what it is," said Paul's wife Melissa Forshey.

Forshey and his lawyer plan to take their case to the West Virginia Supreme Court. Although the couple isn't seeking specific damages, they want their story and case to be heard, and for justice to be done. Even D. Jackson admits that he was the one to accidentally leave the scalpel blade behind.

"I'll never get my hand back. That's something he took and he took a lot of things from me," said Forshey.

The case should be heard by the West Virginia Supreme Count within the next month.

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