Home Medical Malpractice ‘Violent’ COVID test left woman needing surgery: SC lawsuit

‘Violent’ COVID test left woman needing surgery: SC lawsuit

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A “violent” COVID-19 nasal swab test left a woman in need of surgery after it ruptured her sinus cavity in South Carolina, according to a lawsuit against MUSC.

A “violent” COVID-19 nasal swab test left a woman in need of surgery after it ruptured her sinus cavity in South Carolina, according to a lawsuit against MUSC.


A “violent” COVID-19 test left a South Carolina woman needing surgery after a swab was forcefully shoved far into her nose, rupturing her sinus cavity, according to a new lawsuit.

After several surgeries, the lawsuit says the procedures were “not entirely successful” in repairing the woman’s sinus cavity, leaving her with permanent injuries.

The woman and her husband filed the lawsuit on July 14 against the Medical University of South Carolina, which runs the MUSC Health West Phlebotomy Lab in Charleston, where the COVID-19 test took place in July 2020, claiming medical malpractice occurred.

A spokesman for MUSC declined to comment on the pending litigation in a statement to McClatchy News.

On July 22, 2020, the woman scheduled a COVID-19 test after she was in close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, the complaint states. She needed to show a negative test result at her job to go back to work.

Two days later, she arrived at MUSC’s lab where a medical professional, who was not named in the complaint, performed the test, according to the filing.

This individual “violently inserted the COVID testing swab so far up into the nose of (the woman) with such force and distance within — that it immediately caused pain and discomfort to (her),” the complaint says.

Afterward, “clear watery discharge” drained from the woman’s left nostril and she began experiencing pain on the left side of her face in the days after the test, according to the lawsuit.

Her primary care doctor prescribed her antibiotics but as her symptoms began to worsen, she was referred to Charleston ENT & Allergy for an evaluation, the complaint states.

The facility diagnosed her with having a ruptured sinus cavity and cerebrospinal fluid leak as a result of the COVID-19 test after a nasal endoscopy/nasopharyngolaryngoscopy and CT scan was performed, the complaint says.

The lawsuit alleges the permanent injuries and damages the woman sustained came from “the negligence, carelessness, gross negligence, wantonness, and/or recklessness and departure from the professional standards of care” by the medical professional. It also alleges MUSC is liable for the medical professional’s actions.

Additionally, the woman’s husband has also suffered damages, according to the complaint, which says he “suffered the loss” of his wife’s “aid, comfort, society, services, love, affection and consortium.”

The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of damages to be awarded to the married couple and demands a trial by jury.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the southeast and northeast while based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously, she’s written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.

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