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Posted: October 19, 2017

Woman made up story about doctors leaving camera inside her after surgery, hospital says

Emory University Hospital. (Credit: John Spink / jspink@ajc.com)
John Spink / jspink@ajc.com
Emory University Hospital. (Credit: John Spink / jspink@ajc.com)

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By Joshua Sharpe, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA —

Earlier this year, a patient at an Atlanta hospital filed a lawsuit claiming that a surgeon left a camera in her body during transplant surgery, a camera that was discovered six months later.

Lacrystal Lockett’s lawyers have now dropped the complaint.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Doctors left camera in woman's body after surgery, lawsuit claims

Emory Hospital attorney Anna Fretwell pointed out an apparent problem with the story: No cameras are used in such surgeries.

“No evidence to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims — medical records, photographs, the alleged camera itself, eyewitness testimony, or any other evidence — ever was produced,” Fretwell said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Instead, the plaintiff and her lawyers admitted that Emory never left a camera in her body or had to remove one and then dropped the lawsuit.”

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Caleb Avraham, who worked with fellow attorney Michael Jo’el Smith for Lockett, didn’t go so far as to say the claim was false.

“I am not Ms. Lockett, so I can’t get into the mind of Ms. Lockett,” he told the AJC. “I know she believes her story. That’s as much as I can say.” 

Attempts to reach Lockett have been unsuccessful.

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Lockett went into surgery on Dec. 17, 2014, for a kidney and pancreatic transplant, according to the suit. Dr. Paul Lu Tso, assisted by doctors Ronald Parsons and Denise J. Lo, performed the procedure.

Lockett’s suit claimed a camera turned up in her torso the following June during an exam at the hospital and required another surgery to remove it.

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Avraham said by the time Lockett came to him and Smith, the statute of limitations was almost up. They had what they believed to be “credible information” — he declined to elaborate — that Lockett’s story was true.

He said they decided to file suit and get more information from the discovery process, as lawyers do in the “pursuit of the truth.”

>> On AJC.com: Many questions after man dies and no one notices

Through discovery and their own investigation, the lawyers decided they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue the case, Avraham said.

Lockett had been asking for a jury to decide what she was owed for the alleged negligence.


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