Bennie Holland Jr. filed the lawsuit in Durham County Superior Court against Automatic Elevator of Durham and Cardinal Health of Dublin, Ohio.
Holland says the mix-up led to a severe infection, temporary loss of kidney and bowel functions and other ailments.
It's alleged to have happened at Durham Regional and Duke Health Regional hospitals. They're affiliated with Duke University Health Systems.
The lawsuit says hydraulic fluid drained from the elevator's mechanical system at Duke Health Regional was poured into containers once used to hold detergent for cleaning surgical instruments.
Holland's lawsuit says it was in early November that a Duke Health Regional employee pumped liquid from one of the containers into the cleaning system for instruments. Six days later, Holland underwent back surgery.
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