On June 6, 2019, after a two-week trial, a Massachusetts medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in favor of a now 11-year-old child in the amount of $11.5 million for the defendant radiologist’s alleged negligent failure to diagnose her enlarged heart in a chest x-ray taken in the defendant hospital’s emergency department when she was 18-months-old, leading to cardiac arrest and permanent brain damage.
The Underlying Facts
The child’s father brought her to the defendant hospital’s emergency department on April 12, 2009 because she was vomiting and appeared dehydrated. A chest x-ray was ordered and was read by the defendant radiologist as showing “bronchiolitis v. atypical pneumonia was likely present” but failed to diagnose and report an enlarged heart, which the Massachusetts medical malpractice plaintiffs alleged led to the failure to timely diagnose and treat the toddler’s myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle) that subsequently caused the child to suffer cardiac arrest, resulting in severe and permanent brain damage and substantial neurological injuries. The now eleven-year-old child currently functions at the level of a four-year-old child.
The Massachusetts medical malpractice plaintiffs argued to the jury that the proper diagnose of the child’s enlarged heart as depicted in the chest x-ray would have led to an echocardiogram that would have resulted in the diagnosis of myocarditis. Had a timely diagnosis of myocarditis been made, the plaintiffs argued that prompt care and treatment would likely have avoided heart failure that led to cardiac arrest and the resulting catastrophic brain injury.
The Massachusetts medical malpractice jury deliberated for two days before determining that the defendant radiologist was negligent and that his negligence was a substantial contributing factor in causing the child’s injury.
The defense had argued before trial that the defendant radiologist had complied with the standard of care with respect to all of the treatment and care provided to the toddler, and that the toddler did not present with any signs or symptoms that would raise a suspicion of viral myocarditis and she was appropriately transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital when her condition suddenly deteriorated.
A spokesperson for the defendant hospital stated after the verdict that the hospital “extends heartfelt sympathies to the  family and we are pleased that this difficult matter has been resolved. We remain confident that the caregivers at [the defendant hospital] provided high-quality and appropriate care. [The defendant hospital] is committed to providing the highest quality care to every patient according to well-established policies and practices.”
If you or a loved one may have been injured (or worse) as a result of the medical negligence of a radiologist in Massachusetts or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a Massachusetts medical malpractice lawyer, or a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, who may investigate your radiologist medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a radiology medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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