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Eight Years Later, Navy Doctors Admit Removing Woman’s Healthy Organ

January 23, 1995

PICO RIVERA, Calif. (AP) _ The Navy has admitted that military surgeons mistakenly removed a woman’s reproductive organs in 1986, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

Doctors at San Diego Naval Hospital removed Marine Sgt. Lori Jolley’s healthy right fallopian tube and ovary, Naval medical investigator Capt. J.D. Nash told a Navy correction board.

That led to a ``series of incredible complications,″ Nash wrote in a letter obtained by the newspaper and published Saturday.

``We did not serve her well either medically or administratively. As a result, she has suffered physically, emotionally and presumably financially,″ Nash said. ``Our house was not in order on this one.″

Jolley had gone into the hospital to have her appendix removed, she said.

Jolley, who was honorably discharged in 1987, cannot sue the Navy because of a legal precedent that protects military doctors from malpractice lawsuits, legal experts said.

As a result of the operation, Jolley said she cannot have children and suffered a 2 1/2-inch-deep open abdominal wound for seven years before a plastic surgeon closed it. She said she’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical care.

Jolley, 32, was based at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County at the time of the surgery. She now lives in this Los Angeles suburb.

Because she lacked a medical discharge, the Department of Veterans Affairs denied her care at veterans hospitals until she won an appeal in 1993.

``I was pleased to see that the Navy finally admitted their fault,″ Jolley said. ``But they still haven’t changed my record to show a medical discharge. At the very least, they owe me that.″

She had contacted U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres, D-Calif., who in August asked Nash to investigate.

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