Articles Posted in Radiology Errors

Kara Nguyen experienced pain after undergoing a splenectomy, which is the surgical removal of the spleen. She was 23 years old at the time. Her surgeon, Dr. Jorge Leiva, ordered a CT scan. Dr. Andre Arash Lighvani, a radiologist, interpreted the scan as normal.

She was discharged from the hospital and followed up with Dr. Leiva. About a week later, she was readmitted to the hospital suffering from fever and abdominal pain.

After a second CT scan was completed, Dr. Leiva and another general surgeon, Dr. Ziad Amr, diagnosed a blood clot in her portal vein, which was allegedly apparent on both CT scans. Dr. Amr discharged her five days later without a treatment plan for the vein clot.
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William Mann had a history of smoking. He underwent a routine physical including a chest x-ray, which was interpreted as normal. However, three years later, he was diagnosed as having metastatic lung cancer.

In spite of chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments, including a procedure to reinforce the bones in his back, he died 20 months after the diagnosis. He was 58 years old and was survived by his wife and four adult children at the time of his death.

The Mann family sued the United States alleging that the Veterans Administration (VA) radiologist chose not to identify a suspicious 1.5-centimeter density on the left lung visible on the chest x-ray done three years before Mann’s fatal diagnosis.
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Albert Ragin experienced unexplained weight loss and night sweating. At the time he was in his 80s. CT scans without contrast of his chest, abdomen, and pelvis revealed a left kidney cyst, but there were no other kidney abnormalities.

About a year later, in 2013, a renal artery Doppler test showed a possible aortic dissection. Ragin subsequently underwent several CT scans with contrast.

An employee of the defendant in this case, Advanced Radiology, interpreted the CT scans as showing no aortic dissection and no kidney abnormalities except for the several cysts in both kidneys.
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In the confidential reporting of this case, Mr. Doe, 58, developed shortness of breath. He was admitted to a local hospital where he underwent various tests to rule out pulmonary embolism.

The hospital staff interpreted a pulmonary angiogram suspicious for, but not diagnostic of, an embolism. Mr. Doe was prescribed Coumadin and injectable Lovenox. He was then discharged from the hospital.

The following day, Mr. Doe returned to the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CT scan and ultrasound showed a rectus sheath hematoma with internal bleeding. A rectus sheath hematoma is described as an accumulation of blood in the outer lining or sheath of the rectus abdominis muscle. The condition causes abdominal pain with or without a mass. The collection of blood or the hematoma may be caused by either rupture of the epigastric artery or by a muscular tear.
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Sean Pedley was 43 when he developed a lump in his left thigh. An internist, Dr. Syed Danish, ordered an x-ray that did not signify or later lead to a diagnosis. Pedley’s mass grew and became painful over the next two years.

When a later biopsy of the mass was analyzed, it showed that it was synovial sarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer.

By the time the correct diagnosis was made, the soft-tissue cancer had metastasized to Pedley’s spine.
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Gerald Teeuwen, 77, developed a persistent cough. He went to an urgent care facility and later underwent a chest x-ray, which was interpreted as showing a density in his left lung. Teeuwen was referred to a pulmonologist, Dr. Peter Birk.

Dr. Birk ordered a second chest x-ray, which radiologist Dr. Jack Lowdon read as normal. Dr. Lowdon did not compare the two films, which had not been provided to him. The following year, Teeuwen was diagnosed as having Stage IV lung cancer with metastasis to his brain and bones. He was unable to tolerate his chemotherapy and brain radiotherapy treatments. Teeuwen died of lung cancer four months later. He was survived by his wife and two adult children.

Teeuwen’s wife, on behalf of his estate and family, sued Drs. Birk and Lowdon alleging their negligence in choosing not to timely diagnose lung cancer. The Teeuwen family alleged that both physicians should have reviewed the first chest x-ray and that Dr. Lowdon had misread the second study. If Teeuwen would have received an earlier diagnosis, the family and the estate argued, he would have had a chance for cure and survival.
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Gretchen Altemus, 68, struck her head in a fall. She went to the Indiana Regional Center emergency room where she underwent a CT scan. The radiologist working for Aris Teleradiology interpreted the test as being normal.

She was admitted to the hospital. Just three hours later, she became non-responsive. A second CT scan was done showing intracranial bleeding. Although she was transferred to another hospital, she died the next day of brain damage resulting from the intracranial bleeding. She is survived by her two adult children.

Altemus’s daughter, on behalf of her family and estate, sued Aris Teleradiology and the hospital claiming that they chose not to timely diagnose and treat the intracranial bleeding. Had the radiologist identified the small area of bleeding in the brain, the family alleged that she could have received lifesaving treatment and survived.
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This case arises out of an appeal taken after the Circuit Court of Cook County judge entered judgment on the verdict in favor of Dr. John Pantano and Suburban Lung Associates, S.C. in a medical malpractice action. The lawsuit, brought by the special administrator of the Estate of Viola Morrisroe, claimed that her death occurred after a bronchoscopy during which biopsies were performed by Dr. Pantano. It was asserted that the trial judge was in error for (1) barring Morrisroe’s expert from utilizing two CT scans during his testimony to demonstrate that the size of a mass in her lung had not increased in size; and (2) sustaining defense counsel’s objections to certain statements in plaintiff’s counsel’s closing argument relating to informed consent claim.

In 1999, Morrisroe was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema by pulmonologist Dr. Edward Diamond who was the president of Suburban Lung Associates, S.C. Her medical condition was monitored by Dr. Diamond and, in 2006, she began obtaining routine CT scans. In February 2009, a CT scan of her lungs indicated a new mass had formed in the upper right lobe. Dr. Diamond ordered further testing in the form of a PET scan. The PET scan indicated that, while unlikely, cancer could not be ruled out. Dr. Diamond discussed the results of the scans with her and recommended that another CT scan be performed in four months.

By 2009, Dr. Diamond’s examinations found that Morrisroe’s lung function had significantly decreased. While her lung function was at 40% in the beginning of the year, by the summer her lung function was only 26%, prompting Dr. Diamond to downgrade her COPD from “severe” to “very severe.”
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The appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court arose from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, which granted the motion of the defendants, Dr. Clarissa Rhode and Central Illinois Radiological Associates Ltd. The plaintiff — Randall Moon — filed a complaint under the Illinois Wrongful Act (740 ILCS 180/1, et seq.) and the Survival Act (755 ILCS 5/27-6). The complaint was dismissed as time-barred. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the dismissal and held that the two-year statute of limitations for filing the complaint began to run at the time of the decedent’s death and not after the plaintiff discovered defendants’ alleged medical negligence.

On May 18, 2009, Randall Moon’s mother, 90-year-old Kathryn Moon, was admitted to Proctor Hospital in Peoria, Ill., for rectal prolapse. On May 20, 2009, she underwent a perineal proctectomy. During her hospitalization, she experienced numerous complications including labored breathing, pain, fluid overload, pulmonary infiltrates, pneumoperitoneum, sepsis and an elevated white blood cell count.

On May 23, a CT scan of her chest and abdominal area was ordered. Dr. Rhode, a radiologist, read the CT scans on May 24, 2009. Randall W. Moon, who is Kathryn Moon’s son and the plaintiff in this case, returned from out-of-state to his mother’s bedside on the evening of May 27, 2009. Her oxygen levels had significantly dropped and she was not awake or responsive. Two days later she died in the hospital.
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Thirteen-year-old Doe became ill and developed a high fever. Doe’s mother brought him to a Kaiser Permanente Urgent Care facility where Doe underwent testing. Before all the tests were returned, Doe was discharged and told to see his primary care physician in a week or two. It was revealed that one of the tests indicated a high sedimentation rate. There was no follow-up regarding this test result.

Doe’s condition worsened over the next week. He was brought into a hospital emergency room where testing showed lesions on his brain. Doe suffered a stroke during surgery, which necessitated another surgery as well as physical therapy and other treatment.

Fortunately, Doe has made a complete recovery. Doe sued Kaiser Foundation Health Plan alleging that it chose not to timely diagnose the sinus infection.

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