A Portland, Ore. man has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $3 million from an acupuncturist he says left two needles in his skin, including one that later broke off and became embedded in his groin.
The lawsuit says acupuncturist Lihua Wang of the China Acupuncture and Herb Center in Portland failed to do pre- and post-session needle counts during an October 2013 appointment, and then didn’t inspect Robert Shipp’s body for leftover needles before sending him home.
Shipp had gone to the acupuncturist to alleviate pain after an auto accident, his attorney, James Shadduck, said Monday.
Shipp felt the needles in his skin not long after the session, Shadduck said. He removed one of the needles, but the other broke off into a part of his pelvis and has been embedded into the area ever since, completely beneath the surface of the skin.
“He couldn’t walk at all using his left leg, the pain so severe, stabbing into a nerve,” he said.
The lawsuit filed against the clinic in Multnomah County Circuit Court says Shipp was bedridden for months, still has trouble walking and can no longer work as an arborist. One surgical attempt to remove the needle failed, and he will undergo another procedure next month to try to get it out, Shadduck said.
Wang and another clinic representative referred questions Monday to the American Acupuncture Council, which provides malpractice insurance. Attorney and council Vice President Mike Schroeder said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of Shipp’s case because of laws regarding medical privacy.
“We are not aware of any proof that the metal object in question is an acupuncture needle,” Schroeder said by phone from Southern California. “Since 1986, when the American Acupuncture Council was formed, there has never been a recorded case of an acupuncture needle breaking into pieces.
“You can bend them many, many times and they don’t break.”
Shadduck says X-rays clearly show a foreign object consistent with an acupuncture needle.
Shipp, 34, is married with three children. Besides $2.5 million for Shipp’s pain and suffering, the lawsuit seeks $650,000 for the losses his family faces without a fully functioning husband and father.
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