In Brief

Man Had a Nearly 5-Foot Wire Left in His Body After Heart Procedure, Lawsuit Claims

A Nevada man is suing his doctor for allegedly leaving several feet of wire in his body for more than a decade, according to news reports.

The man, 70-year-old German "OT" Ortiz, of Las Vegas, said the 57-inch (144 centimeters) wire was left in his body in 2005 after he underwent a procedure called an angiogram, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. An angiogram allows doctors to take images (X-rays) of blood vessels. The procedure involves threading a catheter through the blood vessels up to the heart with the help of a "guide wire," and injecting a special dye into the catheter. (The dye then shows up on the X-ray, revealing which arteries are narrowed or blocked.)

Ortiz didn't learn that the guide wire was still in his body until 2015, according to the lawsuit. An X-ray taken by a different doctor showed the wire stretching from a blood vessel in his thigh up to his aorta, the main artery in the chest that carries blood away from the heart, Ortiz's lawyer said during the trial's opening statements, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ortiz has since undergone an operation to remove most of the wire, although 20 inches (50 cm.) of it still remains in his thigh, the Review-Journal reported.

Originally published on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.