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$1.2 million settlement after towel left inside UIHC cancer patient

A Burlington man has won a $1.2 million settlement against the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics after having a towel and silver staple left inside of him.

46-year-old Joseph Lee Caskey sued the state and UI physicians Sam Brancato and Paul Kogan in April, according to court documents. Caskey said he had exploratory surgery after two years of severe pain. That's when they discovered the towel inside his abdomen.

Caskey says in January of 2016, he went to UIHC for an emergency procedure related to testicular cancer. Following chemotherapy, physicians recommended the removal of lymph nodes.

On Oct. 31, 2016, Brancato and Kogan removed a single mass and three lymph nodes from Caskey’s abdomen, according to the lawsuit.

Caskey returned to the hospital months later, after multiple health issues. UIHC physician Luis Garcia went back in for an exploratory laparotomy on June 6, 2017.

Garcia found the towel and staple, removed them. Due to other damage, he performed additional procedures.

Caskey said he was in the hospital for 10 more days because of this. He was released with drain and feeding tubes in place. The tubes were eventually removed.

Brancato worked as a clinical assistant professor at UIHC from July 2016-July 2018. Kogan worked as a resident physician from June 2012-July 2018.

Sara Belmont

Assistant News Director

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