A former Dixie Medical Center technician has filed a $1 million federal lawsuit contending she suffered permanent injuries after being sprayed with chemicals by a medical device that was defective.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday against Pittsburgh-based Shandon Inc., contends Bonnie D. Fullmer suffers constant headaches and lost her livelihood as a result of an incident involving the Shandon Hyper Center machine last June.According to court documents, Fullmer, a histology technician, was cleaning the tissue-processing device when she was sprayed in the face by a mixture of formaldehyde and xylene.

Subsequent medical examinations showed that her nasal passages and pharynx were seriously burned, and Fullmer said she now suffers from headaches that cannot be relieved by medication. In addition, exposure to any odor causes her nasal passages to swell, the complaint said.

"As a result of her exposure to these chemicals, plaintiff has been forced to give up her career . . . a position she trained for for over two years, and has been rendered permanently incapable of accepting any other employment," the suit said.

The Washington County woman also contends she cannot live a normal life because she must stay in her home for inordinate periods to avoid exposure to odors.

"Plaintiff cannot even cook food that has any substantial smell or odor to it without experiencing nasal swelling and severe headaches," the suit said.

The U.S. District Court complaint seeks a judgment of liability against Shandon for the machine's performance and accuses the firm of negligence, negligent repair and breach of implied warranties, contending that the Hyper Center was "unreasonably dangerous and likely to cause injury."

The machine was serviced twice by company engineers between March and May in attempts to remedy its malfunctions, including the failure that caused Fullmer's injuries, the lawsuit said.

The suit asks for damages of at least $1 million and unspecified compensation for lost income and medical expenses.