A New York medical malpractice jury awarded a local business man $11.6 million in damages as a result of a radiologist’s medical negligence in failing to properly read and report the results of the plaintiff’s CT scan of his brain that evidently showed that a major blood vessel that supplied blood to the man’s brain was blocked, resulting in the failure to timely treat his stroke and leading to the man suffering a second, more debilitating stroke.
The man had been seen by a physician’s assistant in a local hospital’s emergency room on January 25, 2012, complaining of dizziness, the inability to stand, and headaches. The physician’s assistant ordered a CT scan of the man’s brain to rule out a stroke, which was read by the defendant radiologist who allegedly failed to properly interpret the scan results and failed to report the results to the emergency room medical staff. As a result, the man was discharged from the emergency room with the diagnosis of a sinus infection. Had the defendant radiologist diagnosed the blockage and reported the blockage to the emergency room staff before the man was discharged to home, the man would have been placed on blood thinning medications that would have prevented the second, more devastating stroke, according to the man’s New York medical malpractice lawsuit.
Seven weeks after the man’s visit to the hospital emergency room, the man suffered a massive stroke that left him permanently paralyzed.
The New York medical malpractice trial began on February 1, 2016 and ended with the plaintiff’s verdict on February 8, 2016. The six-person jury (five women and one man) determined that the defendant radiologist’s medical negligence was a substantial factor in causing the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiff. The $11.6 million medical malpractice verdict, which includes $7.5 million for the man’s pain and suffering and the balance for his future medical expenses, is believed to be the largest medical malpractice verdict in the New York county where the trial occurred, and the largest New York medical malpractice verdict for an adult in the entire Fourth Judicial Circuit, which encompasses eleven counties.
About 4% of radiologic interpretations by radiologists contain errors, most of which are minor and do not cause substantial harm to patients. Almost 75% of all medical malpractice lawsuits that name a diagnostic radiologist as a defendant allege negligence related to errors in diagnosis. The “real-time” error rate among radiologists in their daily practices averages between 3% and 5%; however, the retrospective error rate or “miss” rate among radiologic studies involving significant pathologic findings averages 30%.
Studies that have been published in the radiology literature that have evaluated previous chest radiographs of patients that were read as “normal” who subsequently were diagnosed with lung cancer revealed that the carcinoma could be seen in retrospect in as many as 90% of the cases. With regard to mammograms, a study found that “normal” mammograms of patients who were subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer revealed that the cancer could be seen in retrospect in as many as 75% of the cases.
If you or a family member may have suffered serious injury (or worse) due to a radiologist misreading a CT scan, an MRI, an x-ray, or another radiology test in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your radiology malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice claim against a radiologist, if appropriate.
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