Keep An Eye on Your Belly Button Ring!

From an article in the local paper:

A woman whose belly button ring was missing after she underwent knee surgery is suing [name of hospital] for $125,000 because she says a nurse must have inappropriately touched her and removed the piercing.

Yes, you read that right. A woman is suing a local hospital for her missing belly button ring. She’s complaining of negligence, assault and battery.

According to the article, the woman went in for knee surgery in June 2014. A (male) nurse helped prepare her for surgery by inventorying her personal affects (including body rings). Apparently, the nurse made a “disturbing and sexually suggestive” comment related to the fact she didn’t have any “nipple rings.”

She underwent the surgery without being asked to remove the belly button ring.

After being discharged, while taking a bath the next day, she discovered the ring (which she had worn for several years without removal) was missing.


She asserts that while she was unconscious, the nurse “wrongfully touched her belly” and removed the ring.

The lawsuit claims she has suffered and will suffer “physical and psychological injuries, including but not limited to, depression, anxiety, shame, guilt, fear, nightmares and reduced trust in medical professionals.”

I kid you not.



9 thoughts on “Keep An Eye on Your Belly Button Ring!

  1. A lot of supposition going on there.

    The problem here is the human tendency to develop only one plausible scenario in our mind, when in fact that are a myriad of ways that the piercing could have become detached. A classic case of ones presuppositions influencing thought patterns.

    It is quite clear that she took a dislike to the male nurse after his comment. Now he may well have removed the piercing, but more likely the culprit, if there was one, would be unlikely to be a person who had advertised their presence in such a way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really. Last times I’ve been involved with people having surgery, the hospital has always sent advance instructions to remove all your jewelry before arriving. There’s probably a note in there too that if you don’t do that, they will do it for you. The hospital doesn’t want unconscious people wearing valuable jewelry that might make them a target for thieves.

    There’s probably also a disclaimer in the instructions that if you don’t remove jewelry, that the hospital is not responsible if it goes missing. And how does she know it was thatnurse? It could have been any of the personnel in the OR.

    I’m guessing that she’s very unlikely to collect anything, especially if the hospital has her signature on a form that says “leave the jewelry at home, we are not responsible for it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The article’s a great example of ignorance concerning the legal process. Lawyers have to bring every possible allegation against a potential defendant in a complaint; failing to do so would be malpractice. This happens so that a plaintiff won’t sue for one reason, lose, sue again, lose, and sue again. Everything gets handled in one go.

    From the allegations being made, it seems like the patient is worried that the nurse might have done more than just take her bellybutton ring. Sadly, he wouldn’t have been the first medical personnel to have done so. For example, here are two articles (here and here) which discuss touching that wasn’t consented to in advance. Unfortunately, because she was unconscious during the visit, she wouldn’t be able to find out if she was sexually assaulted unless she sues the hospital.

    Moreover, the plaintiff might be making these general allegations to get to a discovery phase, where there is a possibility that more plaintiffs might be found. Hospitals are great places for sexual assaults to occur, because victims won’t know it happens unless something is discovered afterwards. Sadly, patients can’t really find out what happened without suing because of how hard it would be to prove a criminal case.

    Could it be a frivolous case? Sure. But nobody will definitely know until the process moves forward. This could be a person just looking for money, or a lawyer looking for a class-action suit, or it could be a patient who discovered that this hospital might have sleazy people working for it.


    • Thank you, SB, for your knowledgeable comment. 🙂

      However, what about what Ubi wrote related to hospital documents related to the removal of jewelry and other special effects and the hospital’s liability in such cases?


      • Right now it would be too early to tell what any issues she raised might do to the process. If the issues are solely around the loss of the ring, they’ll probably be important. But if evidence of an assault came out, they might not be important.


        • So, from what you’ve put forth, the case isn’t as “silly” as it seems. But you have to admit, at first blush, it does seem rather, well, “unique” (for lack of a better word).

          Thanks again for your input.


          • Actually, I’m saying it’s pretty straightforward. When a complaint gets filed, there are no facts or evidence yet. All that exists right now are the allegations.

            Because of this, it’s a bit premature to make any conclusions about the merits of this person’s case. Effectively, it’s making a decision before all the relevant facts are in.

            Liked by 1 person

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