Spiked

There really are a lot of interesting people in Phoenix

The Spike's favorite case, however, involves a guy who managed to aspirate a metal beer can pull tab into his right lung. The fact that the guy was vacationing at Rocky Point at the time is possibly a clue in the mystery of how one sucks a beer can pull tab into one's lung, especially since pull tabs are ancient technology.

This happened in 1990. The guy went to a doctor in Rocky Point who found nothing and then to his own doctor in Phoenix a week later. That doctor concluded the guy must have really swallowed the pull tab, then "passed" it since an x-ray and other tests showed nada.

Six years later, the guy comes down with pneumonia and finally goes to a pulmonary specialist. Still, it is another three years, marked by continual respiratory infections, before anyone does a scan that shows (wow!) there is the pull tab, still stuck in his lung. The guy sues all the doctors -- with the usual claims of lost income, emotional and psychological trauma, yada, yada, yada -- arguing that the medical experts should have found the pull tab that had been there by now for most of the past decade.

Rand Carlson

You can imagine the specialists and experts who raked in big fees testifying in this case. Doctors against doctors is always an expensive proposition.

The family physician who initially x-rayed the guy's lungs contended an x-ray was enough to show there was nothing in the lung. The guy brought in a doctor who pointed out that pull tabs were made of aluminum and aluminum doesn't show up on x-rays. Who knew?

All the docs who treated the guy argued that the guy's lung problems, including pneumonia, more probably stemmed from the fact that he continued to smoke three packs a day despite his years-long history of lung problems.

So, 14 years after the pull tab entered the plaintiff's right mainstream bronchus, a jury sat through 10 days of expert testimony and legal finger-pointing. It took them two hours to, in essence, throw the case out.

It's enough to make you switch to margaritas.

Spike us! E-mail spiked@newtimes.com or call 602-229-8451.

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