Case Archive
Ref. # 306401

An artist underwent acupuncture in order to quit smoking. As a needle was inserted into his wrist, he experienced sharp pain. He subsequently lost sensation in the area of the thenar eminence, for which he was examined six weeks later by an orthopedist. Later he was seen by a neurologist, who documented no sensory response across the wrist due to a severed ulnar nerve. The condition continues almost two years later, impairing the man's ability to work. A medQuest licensed acupuncturist (who is also board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology) found several deviations in the standard of care. The treating acupuncturist negligently used a large instead of a fine needle. When the nerve was touched there was a failure to immediately remove the needle. The defendant's records indicate incorrect labeling of anatomic points or mistakes regarding their exact location. The patient's median nerve injury corresponded to a PE 6 needle insertion injury. A properly inserted acupuncture needle should not sever a nerve.

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