I-Team: Woman sues hospital over device left in body

A North Providence woman has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against The Miriam Hospital.

A piece of a medical device was left inside her body. Removing it could kill her. But leaving it alone could have the same effect.

"It's a very difficult thing to deal with knowing you have something inside you that doesn't belong there, that should not be there. I mean, it should not be there," Terri Fournier said.

It's a small medical device called a port, and a piece of it is still embedded in Fournier's body.

Fournier, 45, battled breast cancer in 2006, and the port was going to help. It was inserted by a doctor at The Miriam Hospital in Providence.

Instead of constantly getting pricked by a needle, the port allowed chemotherapy medication to flow directly into Fournier's bloodstream.

"It looks like a button and it has a tubing attached to the button," Fournier said in November 2011, when NBC 10 first reported on her condition.

The port was removed, and Fournier beat the cancer. But four years later she had trouble breathing and went in for a simple chest X-ray. Doctors were astonished. A tiny piece of the port was still inside her body.

Fournier said doctors told her the piece had now attached itself to the jugular vein in her neck. Surgery could be too risky, doctors said. And leaving it alone could also threaten Fournier's life.

"Every day, I think about it when I wake up. Every day, I think about it when I'm at work. And every night I think about it before I go to bed," Fournier said.

Fournier has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, a physician's assistant and The Miriam Hospital. The lawsuit is in lawyers' hands.

For now, Fournier is focused on her family: sons Ricky, who returned home from Afghanistan, and Ryan, who recently shared some exciting news

"I'm now going to be a grandmother, which is the best news I've gotten in a long time," Fournier said.

"I want my mom there to see her grandchild grow up. I don't want to have to be that parent that has to tell their child what their grandmother was like," Ryan Fournier said.

"I want to be here for my grandchild and my children and my family and my boyfriend. You just never know. I don't know what's going to happen," Fournier said. "I don't know."

Fournier has decided not to have surgery.

The Miriam Hospital said it cannot comment on pending litigation.

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