The Outcome: As our team investigated this case, we learned that this was not the first time the radiologist had clearly missed a critical finding in a patient. As we dug deeper, we realized this case contained more than traditional claims of medical malpractice. It also contained claims of direct corporate negligence against Medquest and its affiliated companies for the failure to properly and appropriately manage, operate, and oversee the delivery of diagnostic imaging and radiological services. A monitoring system pushed radiologists to turn around 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. By obtaining audit trail data in litigation, we were able to determine that the radiologist read the entire brain imaging study, consisting of 251 images, in just 60 seconds.
In addition to the $28.5 million payment, this settlement significantly includes critical corporate changes to help eliminate this type of error in the future. Medquest agreed to mandate a second reading of all pediatric MRIs and CT scans; of head, neck, and spine MRIs for all patients; and of a handful of other high-risk patient scans. The company will also increase quality control policies to enhance patient safety and reduce reading errors at all levels.