Justice for Jacob

Behind a medical malpractice lawsuit that held a healthcare corporation responsible for a missed diagnosis and ensures greater patient safety in the future

The Missed Diagnosis

In 2015, Jacob Pritchett was a happy, bright student athlete whose promise was undeniable.

At 15, he began experiencing shooting pains in the back of his skull, along with bouts of balance deficits, fatigue, and dizziness.

On his doctor’s advice, Jacob’s parents took him to receive an MRI of his brain at a Medquest imaging facility in Florence, South Carolina.

Justice for Jacob
Brain Scan
The Missed Diagnosis
The radiology report came back normal.

Jacob learned to live with the headaches. He was accepted into a highschool for gifted students and made the basketball team.

But the headaches returned. And with a vengeance.

When the family returned for a second MRI, two years after their first, the scan revealed a large brain tumor. It was malignant.

The Missed Diagnosis
Unfortunately, the real gut punch was to come.

Jacob’s surgeon revisited his original MRI, only to learn the tumor was plainly visible—when it was ¼ of the size it had grown to by the time of operation. Implication on complication risk level at survey.

Uncovering the Truth

A trusted attorney friend encouraged them to contact Yarborough Applegate.

We didn’t know what we’d find. But we knew we needed to uncover the truth, no matter what it took.

Uncovering the Truth
So we started digging.

We learned this imaging center was owned by xxxxx company, which was owned by xxxxx company.

All to protect the parent company, MedQuest, Inc.

Uncovering the Truth
How do we get inside the system?
Perserverance.

Event logs revealed the company recorded data every time an image was opened, how long it was open for, and when it closed.

In Jacob’s case, the radiologist read Jacob’s entire brain imaging study—251 images—in just 60 seconds.

Uncovering the Truth

“They were doing that in the corporate context—only determining how quickly they could get through these images and how much profit they could make. They didn’t use it to ensure that their doctors were spending a proper amount of time on it.”

William Applegate

Uncovering the Truth
We learned this technician’s rapid review of Jacob’s scan was hardly unique.

A monitoring system routinely pushed radiologists to quickly scan images within a mandatory time frame—but there was no system to ensure a sufficient amount of time was spent on the actual review of the images. In our view, Medquest’s corporate policy prioritized profits over patient care.

A Case for Corporate Change

We were up against a major corporation, but we wouldn’t back down.

Over an 18-month period, we filed eight motions. We defeated Medquest, Inc.’s attempt to have the case dismissed on personal jurisdiction grounds and to dismiss our secondary liability claims.

More than anything, Jacob and his family wanted to eliminate this tragedy from happening in the future. After two years of relentless effort, on the eve of trial, we were proud to accomplish just that.

A Case for Corporate Change

In addition to securing a landmark $28.5 million settlement, as a result of Jacob’s case, Medquest Associates Inc. and its affiliates will mandate a second reading of:

- All pediatric MRIs and CT scans.
- Head, neck, and spine MRIs for all patients.
- Certain other high-risk patient scans.

“That’s a change that will save many, many lives in the future.”

William Applegate

Healthcare companies must be held responsible when foreseeable risks are ignored or neglected.

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