Medical malpractice attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and GE Healthcare Technologies were recently subject to a class action for delivering eight times the approved dosage or radiation to patients. The affected patients underwent CT brain perfusions scans to diagnose strokes.
The class action complaint was filed on behalf of about 200 patients by Trevor Rees, though he believes there is a good chance the same situation happened in radiology departments throughout the U.S. In October 2009, the FDA indicated that it was aware of radiation overexposures during CT imaging perfusions to aid stroke diagnosis. The agency confirmed the overexposure occurred during an 18-month period starting in February 2008.
The FDA stated that the magnitude of the overexposure and the consequential impact on patients’ health was significant, and promptly launched an investigation and warned hospital nationwide to evaluate CT brain scan practices. The lead plaintiff, Reese, underwent two CT procedures at Cedars-Sinai, after which he experienced significant hair and eyebrow loss, skin reddening, flaking of the scalp and facial skin, and burns on his scalp.
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These types of CT brain scans are used to diagnose strokes through identifying possible blood flow issues in the brain. Cedars admitted that it mistakenly administered excessive doses by improperly setting the machine. Several studies have suggested that overuse of CT scans may significantly increase the risk of cancer – one, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that these scans may contribute to 29,000 new cancer cases every year.
Rees’ case settled in June 2013 in an undisclosed amount. Unfortunately, it seems that a similar case of over-radiation occurred at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, WV between October 2009 and November 2010 during CT Angiography scans.
In February 2010, the FDA announced that it would establish new safeguards for medical imaging machines in efforts to reduce the amount of excessive radiation. The initiative will also set new standards for physicians and patients about radiation overexposure education. The safeguards will apply to CT scans, nuclear medicine studies, and fluoroscopes. All three types of scans expose patients to ionizing radiation, which can increase the lifetime risk of cancer.
The radiation dose associated with CT is much higher than the public may think: one CT abdomen scan is produces the same amount of radiation as 400 chest X-rays. One patient at the Huntington, WV clinic reported receiving a scan equal to 2000 X-rays. The FDA plans to establish a program that will allow patients to track their imaging history and share that information with their doctors.
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In related malpractice news, a doctor in Pennsylvania was recently found negligent after he failed to diagnose bacterial infections in a set of unborn twins. The chorioamnionitis infections caused the twins significant, permanent injuries after birth. The court found that the mother’s doctor committed professional negligence by failing to diagnose her infection, which was the sole cause of the twins’ injuries. She ultimately won $13.15 million for the malpractice.
Chorioamnionitis is a common complication that can arise during pregnancy, and is associated with sepsis, stillbirths, chronic lung disease, and cerebral pasly, among other ailments for both mother and child. Between 1-4% of all American births are complicated by chorioamnionitis. Fever is the most important clinical symptom of the infection.
Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) can also lead to infection if the rupture is prolonged. The longer the amniotic sac is ruptured, the higher the chances that the infant will become infected with chorioamnionitis.
Birth injury lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience advocating on behalf of those injured my negligent medical providers. If you or your child suffered serious injuries during birth or during general treatment at a medical center, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation for your pain and suffering.