A former Georgia radiology technician who worked in a local hospital pleaded guilty and received a 6-month jail sentence for allegedly entering the results from more than 1,200 mammograms as negative. Ten women whose mammogram results were entered by the technician as negative had breast cancer at the time of their mammograms; two of the ten have since died. Doctors at the hospital where the mammograms were performed never reviewed the mammograms.
The sentence was part of a plea deal in which the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of computer forgery and ten counts of reckless conduct. The plea deal also resulted in the defendant being sentenced to twelve months of probation for each of the ten counts of reckless conduct; she is precluded from working in health care for ten years.
One of those 10 women who had a mammogram at the hospital that showed she had breast cancer found out two months after her mammogram that she had cancer. The woman, who has been in remission for three years, testified during the former radiology technician’s sentencing hearing, telling the defendant, “You could have made a different decision and my family and I would not be living this nightmare. I’m not a name on a piece of paper — I’m a person.”
The defendant’s attorney stated during the sentencing hearing that his client had become overwhelmed at work and could not keep up, which led to her entering false information into the computer regarding the mammograms. The attorney also alleged that his client was not properly supervised at worked, which allowed his client’s conduct to continue unchecked and undiscovered.
During the defendant’s sentencing, the judge told the woman, “You played Russian roulette with the lives of essentially a thousand women in this community.”
While the majority of health care providers are highly-devoted, well-trained, and competent in performing their jobs, it is scary that there are those like the former Georgia radiology technician whose job it is to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders who seemingly perform their job duties responsibly but are later discovered, often after a considerable period of time during which patients have needlessly suffered, to have been woefully incompetent or criminal in carrying out their important job duties.
Often it is not just one person’s failures that lead to devastating patient injuries: often it is the health care institution’s failure to develop and implement appropriate policies and procedures, or the cascading effect of multiple procedural breakdowns and failures, that are the root cause of patient injuries.
When a medical provider voluntarily chooses to not perform his/her duties timely or properly, the failure to have proper supervision of the incompetent provider often results in additional patients being needlessly exposed to dangerous or deadly care or treatment that was avoidable had even one link in a chain of broken links been solid and effective.
If you, a family member, or someone you know may have been injured due to medical negligence in the United States, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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