Spinal implant vendor says Halifax Medical Center playing favorites at expense of patients

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. —

Officials with Halifax Medical Center faced a judge on Wednesday after allegations they played favorites when picking vendors.

Another vendor, Spinal Resources, requested Wednesday's injunction hearing. The company is accusing the hospital of picking a vendor only because it has ties to the hospital's largest donor, the Bill France family of NASCAR fame.

Halifax attorney Harold Hubka defended the actions of the public hospital, which selected a preferred vendor for spinal implants and instrumentation without putting a contract out for bid.

But Spinal Resources claims relying on one vendor for medical instruments puts patients in danger.

"That's the kind of thing that can happen if you don't have necessary, if you don't respect the physician's choice in the product and the instrumentation," said Spinal Resources attorney Tim Elliott.

"We're bending over backwards because of the incredible adverse that's been circulated about this whole thing," said Hubka.

Wednesday's hearing came just a few months after a $1 billion federal lawsuit from the federal government that claims the hospital put patient safety at risk with unnecessary surgeries and after state records showed that a Halifax surgeon operated on the wrong leg of a patient.

Neither issue, however, was brought up in Wednesday's hearing.