Articles Posted in Radiology Errors

This appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court involves a medical malpractice lawsuit brought against the hospital system, Allina Health System. The suit is based on the alleged negligence of independent contractors involved in providing care for a patient in the emergency rooms of two different hospitals owned by the hospital system. At issue is whether a hospital can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of an independent contractor based on the doctrine of apparent authority.

The state court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the medical malpractice case on the ground that a hospital can be vicariously liable for a physician’s negligence only if the physician is an employee of the hospital. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further disposition.

The plaintiff, Alla Popovich, brought this medical malpractice case as wife and guardian ad litem for her husband, Aleksandr Popovich, alleging that her husband suffered a stroke after receiving negligent medical care in the emergency room of two separate hospitals owned and operated by Allina Health System.
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Mr. Doe suffered a fall at work and underwent a chest X-ray and a CT scan. He was diagnosed as having multiple rib fractures and a small pulmonary nodule in his right upper lung. Several weeks later, a PET scan revealed mild hypermetabolic activity in the right upper lobe of his lung, which prompted a CT-guided core biopsy.

The biopsy specimen was sent to pathology but was too small. Mr. Doe did not undergo a repeat biopsy.

Approximately eight years later, Mr. Doe suffered another fall and underwent a chest X-ray. This revealed 2.9-cm lung density. Mr. Doe was later diagnosed as having Stage III adenocarcinoma of the lung. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that starts in the mucous glands inside of organs, including the lungs.
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William Pratt, 67, was diagnosed with Stage IV liver cancer. He fell down a flight of stairs and was transferred to a hospital emergency room where he was examined and sent for radiological scans. A preliminary reading of the scans concluded that he had not broken any bones during the fall.

The next morning, radiologist Dr. Geoffrey Gilleland reviewed the films and determined that Pratt had in fact broken nine ribs. Dr. Gilleland did not notify the emergency department of his findings, and Pratt was later discharged.

Over the next two days, Pratt developed pneumonia. He was admitted to another hospital where he died two weeks later of the pneumonia and complications of end-stage liver cancer. He was survived by his wife and three adult children.
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David Riese, 60, went to his primary care physician complaining of a lump in his neck. He underwent an MRI and was referred to ENT Dr. Matthew Jerles, who aspirated the lump.

Riese returned to Dr. Jerles several times and underwent the surgical removal of the lump, which had ruptured during the aspiration procedure.

Testing later revealed that there was a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Jerles then examined the back of Reise’s throat and diagnosed a tumor at the base of his tongue. It was later revealed that the tumor had been present on the MRI, which had been faxed to Dr. Jerles at the start of Reise’s treatment. Dr. Jerles obviously missed observing and noting that tumor.
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The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed a summary judgment in favor of the defendant Swedish Covenant Hospital and Dr. Kamal.

This wrongful death and survival action was brought by Shicheng Guo, special administrator for the estate of the deceased, Shiqian Bao. The complaint alleged that Bao was brought to Swedish Covenant’s emergency department after experiencing a severe headache. She underwent a CT scan.

A few hours after being discharged from Swedish Covenant, another doctor reviewed her CT scan and found signs of a brain bleed. Bao was called back to Swedish Covenant for treatment. She chose not to pursue further treatment at Swedish Covenant and instead immediately presented herself to the emergency department at Lutheran General Hospital. Doctors at Lutheran General did another series of tests but did not diagnose a brain bleed and discharged her from the hospital without treatment. Bao died three days later of an alleged brain hemorrhage.
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When Lana Burton went in for a routine mammogram and later developed a lump in her breast, she went back for another mammogram and an ultrasound. The radiologist, Dr. Sanford Limpkin, interpreted the mammogram and ultrasound as being normal.

Fifteen months later, she was diagnosed as having triple negative cancer of the right breast. She underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Sadly, she died within three years. Burton was 56 when she passed away; she was survived by her husband and adult daughter.

The Burton estate sued Dr. Limpkin and his employer, Advanced Radiology, alleging that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat breast cancer. The Burton family asserted that Burton’s mass was observable on the second set of tests that were done and that Burton should have therefore undergone spot compression imaging.
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Lacey Povrzenich, who had been 4 years old at the time, underwent bloodwork at Monongahela Valley Hospital, which reported that her creatinine was normal. For the next seven years, Lacey experienced recurrent urinary tract infections. For that condition, Lacey’s pediatrician, Dr. Dawn McCracken, prescribed antibiotics. The doctor also ordered repeat lab work.

Lacey was later admitted to a hospital suffering from dehydration and vomiting. Testing there showed an abnormally high creatinine level. A CT scan of Lacey’s pelvis and abdomen revealed abnormalities in her ureters and kidneys. However, this condition was not noted by the interpreting radiologist.

One year later, a physician’s assistant at a new health clinic noted that Lacey had high blood pressure. A second blood pressure reading that was taken later that year was even higher. The following year, Lacey was rushed to a children’s hospital where she was diagnosed as having end-stage renal failure. This required a double kidney transplant. Lacey now requires up to 30 pills per day for her condition.
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When James Hoznor, 66, developed throat problems, a Veterans Administration (VA) physician ordered an x-ray. The results showed an abnormality at the base of Hoznor’s tongue.

After Hoznor consulted a VA otolaryngologist, a primary care physician Dr. Cornelio Honge told Hoznor that he had a swollen salivary gland and prescribed antibiotics.

For more than a year, Hoznor’s symptoms continued, including swelling of the glands in his neck. Hoznor later sought out an opinion from a non-VA medical provider. A later biopsy showed that Hoznor unfortunately had Stage IV squamous cell carcinoma of the throat and tongue.
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Gail Ingram was 61 years old when she went to a hospital emergency room complaining of abdominal pain. She underwent a CT scan, which was interpreted by radiologist Dr. Barbara Blanco as showing possible pancreatitis, a gallstone and no acute bowel findings.

After a four-day hospital stay, Ingram was instructed to consult her primary care physician and was discharged. Less than two years later, she returned to the emergency room suffering from abdominal pain once again. The CT scan this time revealed a 4-cm lung mass, which led to a lung cancer diagnosis.

Ingram, whose cancer was diagnosed then at Stage IV, died just a month later. She was survived by her husband and two adult children.
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Rickie Lee Huitt, 65, consulted a urologist at The Iowa Clinic after receiving his prostate cancer screening results. The urologist ordered a biopsy, which was sent to the clinic’s anatomical laboratory for interpretation.

The pathologist, Dr. Joy Trueblood, the laboratory’s director, examined Huitt’s slides and reported that she had found cancer in both sides of his prostate.

Huitt then met with the neurologist who told him that he required a radical prostatectomy to survive his cancer. The surgery left Huitt with erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
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