Unless otherwise stated, information below is alleged and comes from a lawsuit filed in Davidson County.
In a lawsuit, it's alleged a surgeon at Tri-Star Centennial Medical Center operated on a Tennessee man and left a surgical needle inside him. The man was having heart surgery that lasted nine hours, according to the suit. After the surgeon closed up the patient, he realized (and imaging revealed) that the doctor left the needle inside the man.
A second operation was performed to reopen and remove the needle from John Burns Johnson. But the needle could not be removed. The suit doesn't say whether they couldn't find the needle, they couldn't remove it without making it worse, or it just wasn't possible. Mr. Johnson was closed up again, still with the needle inside.
Mr. Johnson, age 73, died. The suit states “Mr. Johnson’s condition continued to deteriorate over the next thirty days. He was critically ill and never saw his home again.”
The wrongful death suit also alleges his last days were painful. The needle was removed during his autopsy.
In a statement given to The Tennessean, Tristar (owned by HCA) said, "We take the responsibility of properly caring for our patients very seriously and empathize with the understandable grief being felt by the family,".