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During an operation the needle with which the surgeon sews may break, and even after a painstaking search the broken piece cannot always be recovered from the tissue. A needle may break in the most skilled hands. Nevertheless, the patient and relatives are not often ready to excuse the surgeon, and the latter may spend wakeful nights conjecturing what further trouble might be caused by the piece of steel left in the patient's body and whether he is to face a malpractice suit for alleged neglect.
Over a period of three years in the state of New York, there were at least fifteen claims brought against physicians because of fragments of broken needles being left behind after an operation. Even though the unfortunate physician is not "sued," his conscience bothers him and his reputation is liable to suffer.
In order to prevent the fragment of a broken needle from being
Lowrie RJ. THE SAFETY NEEDLE. JAMA. 1932;99(8):653–654. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410600001011
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