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22.04.2004 General News

Jury rejects drug mule's claims of malpractice

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Leave it to a drug mule to file a jackass of a lawsuit.

That was the finding yesterday of a jury that refused to award damages to a smuggler who sued for malpractice after heroin-filled condoms were surgically removed from his stomach.

William Kanyi, who was convicted of drug smuggling and deported to his native Ghana, was seeking $5 million from Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens and three of its doctors for cutting him open without his permission.

Kanyi's lawyer, Benedict Gullo, claimed the surgery was unnecessary and left his client emotionally and physically scarred.

Kanyi passed 44 of 51 heroin-filled condoms with the aid of a laxative.

But after U.S. Customs agents said they suspected other packets had ruptured and Kanyi's urine showed signs of opiates, doctors went in for the rest.

After deliberating for two days, jurors in Brooklyn Federal Court concluded that doctors did the right thing medically in performing the operation, even without Kanyi's authorization.

"If I didn't win, they'd have to pull me off the Brooklyn Bridge," said defense lawyer Robert Elliott, who represented the hospital and two surgeons.